May 26, 2024

The Unexpected Arrival of Grubby, the Opossum, in Alaska

In March, an opossum, later named Grubby, unexpectedly arrived in Homer, Alaska, causing a stir among the local community. This marsupial, native to the lower 48 states, was not a common sight in Alaska and raised concerns about potential threats to native species. Grubby was first spotted on Grubstake Avenue, leading to her nickname.

Despite the efforts of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) to capture Grubby, she managed to evade capture until May. During this time, she gave birth to a litter of opossums, with four of her offspring being captured by early June. The ADFG, along with the local community, continued their efforts to locate and capture the remaining young opossums.

The arrival of Grubby in Homer divided the community, with some residents supporting her presence and others advocating for her capture due to the potential risks she posed to native species. The ADFG officials were particularly concerned about the potential for disease transmission and the impact on native flora and fauna.

Grubby’s story gained widespread attention, leading to a social media campaign with the hashtag #FreeGrubby. Despite the controversy, state officials insisted on the need for Grubby’s removal, especially after it was discovered that she had given birth.

After her capture in May, Grubby was initially set to be euthanized. However, following discussions with various facilities, it was decided that she would be re-homed to the Anchorage Zoo, marking the zoo’s first and only opossum. Meanwhile, the search for Grubby’s offspring, humorously referred to as “grublets” by locals, continues.

This article was adapted from the original by Dac Collins on Outdoor Life.

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