Educational Ambassadors

Educational Animals – Not Pets

We get many requests for visits or to present wildlife programs.
This is a good time to share some information about Ferncroft’s ambassadors!

Our opossum are not pets. They are animals determined by a vet to be non-releasable. (NR) They are with us because they could not survive in the wild. Euthanasia was not an option.

An animal may be deemed non-releasable (NR) because of a medical or physical disability that hinders survival in the wild. Veterinarian certification must be submitted to the State. If proper placement cannot be found, the NR may be humanely euthanized.

In CT it is illegal for any person, other than a state appointed rehabilitator, to care for wildlife.
Animals that will serve as educational ambassadors must meet license, permit and insurance requirements.

A Federal USDA permit is required to keep/house non-releasable wildlife. This is a lengthy and expensive process that takes time, money and patience.

To obtain a federal permit, caging must meet USDA regulations/specifications for each specific species.
Federal Inspections of caging, property, and records are conducted bi-annually. Permits are renewed annually.
We built a pen that meets federal standards and revamped our critical care room to accommodate animals in a safe and secure environment.

Veterinarian Inspections are required annually, and lengthy report submitted to USDA

Health Certificates signed annually by examining veterinarian are required for each animal.

Liability insurance is required to do public programs.

CT DEEP may, under certain circumstance, and with prior permission, allow a rehabber to use an animal for public programs/demonstration

Proper permits are required for individual Sates. Ferncroft holds permits for CT, MA and RI.

In summary, it is a lengthy and expensive process to be licensed for educational wildlife.
We take our responsibility seriously and use extraordinary care to protect our animals. Before agreeing to any requests we take into account the venue, the safety and the educational value of these requests.


March 2023


Mango is two years old and a fabulous Ambassador! Mango was admitted to Ferncroft in August of 2021. His mama was killed by a car and Mango, along with four siblings, were in mama’s pouch. He was 8 weeks old. Mango and one sibling sustained injuries that compromised their mobility. Due to his extreme passivity and lack of defense skills, Mango may have sustained a traumatic brain injury. Mango would not survive in the wild and is certified non-releasable. Mango loves being the “star of the show” and enjoys the attention he gets at programs. Mango will wrap his tail around his fingers which kids love. Mango has one drawback. His nickname is“Mr. Poopy-pants”–so that should give you a big hint as to what it is!! Mango lives in the house, he loves to eat anything except fish, and his best friend is Basil the Opossum puppet!

Educational Ambassador Mango

September 2022


Sherman was admitted by a fellow rehabber in Sept of 2022 when he was about 4 months old Sherman had has been attacked by another animal (we suspect a dog or coyote) He lost an eye and sustained serious head/facial injuries. He demonstrates no defense skills and would not survive in the wild–he has been certified as non-releasable. Sherman came to live at Ferncroft in December 2022 and lives in the house with us. Not quite 1 year old, Sherman is an “ambassador in training” and doing very well. He enjoys being petted and he loves to walk around on his leash. He also likes to sit on our lap and watch TV! Sherman’s favorite food is kibble and apples.

Education Ambassador Sherman

Our Former Ambassadors

August 2020


On Tuesday, July 11, our sweet Bella crossed the rainbow bridge.
R.I.P. sweet girl.  5/15/20 – 7/11/23
Bella was 3 yrs old–very elderly in the world of opossums. She was a fabulous ambassador with a sweet personality. Admitted in August 2020 at 8 weeks old, Bella was one of 6 siblings who survived her mom getting hit by a car. Bella sustained serious leg injuries. She was cast and received physical therapy without success. Bella was non-releasable due to her inability to climb properly, forage, and protect herself. Bella helped educate hundreds of people–and was fun to work with. 

Educational Ambassador Bella

APRIL 2018


Lavender was rehabbed at Ferncroft after suffering an injury at 8 weeks old and is non-releasable. She would accompany the Lefferts to programs providing education to the public about wildlife rehabilitation. Lavender loved teaching people about opossums.

March 2018


Hit by a car on Xmas Eve 2018, Rudy was somewhat of a miracle. He suffered severe injuries that required several surgeries. Rudy had a debilitating mobility issue and he was blind. Visitors would always say hello to Rudy, who roamed free in the rehab clinic.

October 2018


Hit by a car in October 2018 Patch suffered severe brain injuries and was non-releasable. Patch was our gentle giant and served as an educational ambassador for public programs.