An opossum from West Philly is looking to uplift people’s holiday spirits with a custom holiday card.
Gary, an almost three-month-old domesticated opossum, enjoys being photographed. But lately, he’s been wanting to embrace his holiday spirit. So, he dressed up in a Santa suit and participated in a festive photo shoot.
His owner, Katy DiSanto, is selling the photos as holiday cards for people to give to their loved ones. Proceeds will go to the Schuylkill Wildlife Rescue.
Gary was just a few weeks old when DiSanto brought him to her home as a baby orphan-- when he was hairless and his eyes barely opened.
DiSanto, a shop assistant at Hunter Gatherer Tattoo, started posting pictures of the small animal on her social media pages when she noticed that her personal account was overwhelmed with Gary photos.
“Gary was taking over my Instagram. At that I point, I said,’You know what, I think it’s time I made his own account,’ she recalled.
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The opossum goes by @gary.the.trashcat on the photo-sharing app, and has accumulated 133 followers in a few months since going active. Gary’s page includes images of him climbing things, eating his favorite snacks, sleeping, and playing with his fellow pets (two rescue cats, and a dog)-- some of his favorite hobbies.
With the small attention Gary’s been getting, DiSanto hopes that certain misconceptions about opossums resolve.
“The stereotype of [Opossums] is that they’re full of rabies, but I’m finding that the opposite is true; they are considered nature's sanitation workers,” she said. “They eat garbage, as well as the insects and other vermin that are attracted to refuse. You get to learn a lot about these animals as you raise them.”
Gary is tame and dependent on humans. He has special paperwork from the Department of Fish and Wildlife that permits him to live with people.