When a baby opossum mother was killed by a passerby car, animals rescuers feared that the infant would not survive without a nurturing guardian. Luckily, a German Shepherd was kind enough to step in and provide the orphaned marsupial loving, maternal care (video below).
The infant opossum's name is Poncho. One day, his mother run over by a car while attempting to cross a road. Animal fatalities due to traffic have become such a common happenstance that they have earned the rather cruel moniker of roadkill, but these unnatural deaths often bring with it dire consequences for the slain critter's young.
Current estimates of how many animals are struck and killed by vehicles per year are likely underestimating the number of deaths. This is because the studies are conducted by insurance companies and government agencies, who are generally concerned the animals large enough to impact the driver, according to New York Department of Transportation spokesperson Carol Breen.
"We keep statistics about deer, that's really what we're focusing on, because that's the animal that could cause damage [to a car]," Breen told The Dodo. "The smaller animals we don't record. We remove them from roads, but we don't record how many."
In this particular case, the roadkill had a child nearby. When animal rescuers arrived on the scene, they found Poncho clinging to his mother, as if hoping she would get back up, according to Shareably.
After treating the baby opossum for minor injuries, the animal rescuers sought out an adoptive mother for the orphan, who could not survive on his own. Hantu, a white German Shepherd, happily obliged.
Hantu, who had no children of her own, quickly treated Poncho like her own puppy. The loving feeling was mutual, with the opossum clinging the dog's back just like he would his mother.
The two animals are inseparable, as Hantu roams around the woods with her adopted child clinging to her back, from when Poncho was tiny enough to fit in a person's hand to when he was fully grown.
While, animals adopting young outside of their species is uncommon, biologist George C. Williams has observed that many female animals without their own biological young will care for pups from other species in order to sate their maternal instinct, according to the BBC.
Opossums, who are often lumped in with vermin in the eyes of the public, are one of the oldest mammals in the world. Their existence charts back to over 70 million years ago, when dinosaurs still roamed the earth, the Springfield News-Leader reports.
Infant opossums will use their claws to climb around their mother's body, a common trait among marsupials. With this in mind, it becomes clear that Poncho considers Hantu to be his mother.