TAMPA, Fla. (NBC/WFLA) - A car hit his mother and seven brothers and sisters, and now Florida Vet Tech Lea Murray is raising him as if he's her own baby.
When Barley's out for a stroll with his mother, he tends to get the same reaction.
"Everybody usually thinks they're going to come up on a cute little baby, and instead they find an adorable little opossum," said Murray.
Barley is just more than 1 year old, and she says some people are repulsed by his ratty tail and whiskers.
But the Bay Area vet tech says this opossum is the best pet she's ever had.
"He does nothing wrong. He doesn't destroy anything -- doesn't tear up anything," said Murray.
Barley is the sole survivor of a car crash that killed his eight relatives on the road.
"I was going to rehabilitate him and release him; that was the intention," said Murray.
Instead, she fell in love with him and got a special permit from the state to keep him.
Now when strangers stop to take his picture, Murray tries to teach them a thing or two about opossums.
"One of the huge misconceptions is, they don't typically get rabies. A lot of people think they do," said Murray. "Their body temperatures are real low, and also, they're the only native marsupial in North America."
But Barley, she warns, is no backyard opossum.
"They are wild animals. I just happened to get real lucky," said Murray.
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