Grubby, Alaska’s most wanted opossum, was settling into his new home Friday at the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage.
She arrived Wednesday night from Homer and is the first possum to claim residence at the zoo. Curator Sam Lavin said Grubby has latched onto her nocturnal instincts by sleeping during the day and breaking cardboard when she’s awake. Lavin said that he is working to win over Grubby.
“We’re mainly building trust right now, getting her to associate us with food,” Lavin said. “Seeing people is less stressful when she associates them with food.”
Two months have passed since Grubby’s unexpected arrival in Alaska. She was a stowaway on a Washington state shipping container headed for Homer in March. Once she arrived at the Kenai Peninsula town, she immediately caused a stir as she wandered around and evaded the traps. Some people wanted her captured and killed because opossums are invasive in Alaska. But others joined her, launching the hashtag #FreeGrubby.
Police finally caught Grubby early Wednesday morning, and biologists decided to send her to the Alaska Zoo.
Right now, Grubby is technically in quarantine at the zoo. She lives in an infirmary and visitors can see her through a window. Her neighbors include a ground squirrel who is also new to the zoo.
The zoo plans to keep Grubby after the quarantine ends, but the staff have yet to decide how to design their exhibit.
“Since they don’t live in Alaska, we’ll have to take into account how they’ll do through the winter,” Lavin said. “We are surprised that it has survived in Homer so well considering the winter we had this year.”
Zoo staff estimate that Grubby is around 2 years old. They say the zoo has received several donations in the last 24 hours from Grubby’s supporters and his social media fan base has continued.
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