Entrepreneur Tara McVicar was doing a spot of spring cleaning around her Los Angeles home in May 2015 when she made the unwelcome discovery. Indeed, as she was decluttering her closet, the mom found a furry beast who was clearly unhappy at being disturbed.
McVicar wasn’t too pleased either. In fact, she was a bit embarrassed by the situation, admitting it was “not a proud moment.” So she did what anyone would do – grabbed a camera to film the face-to-face encounter with her closeted nightmare.
On the defense for getting found out, however, the opossum that had found its way inside her house does not seem like it wants to be filmed. “I don’t know how he came in and I don’t know how to get him out,” McVicar exclaims as she starts the camera rolling.
Moving a suitcase to get a better look at her unexpected houseguest, McVicar lets out an almighty scream as she’s met with hisses of protest from the vexed marsupial. The respective hissing and shrieking continues as McVicar attempts to uproot the opossum with a brush.
“That is a very terrifying sound! It is! It’s a terrifying sound. But you’re relatively cute,” she tells her furry foe. McVicar then offers her audience a word of advice if they ever find themselves in a similar predicament. “Do not poke the opossum,” she warns.
At this point the camera cuts off. Perhaps McVicar has paid the ultimate price for disturbing the opossum? Alas, no. When McVicar returns, she reveals that she’s made the cutest discovery.
Peaking tentatively around the closet door, McVicar unveils the real reason her opossum is so agitated – she’s protecting several babies. “There’s a lot,” McVicar says before later estimating a litter of eight or nine little opossums.
Deciding the closet wasn’t the best place for the critter to raise its young, McVicar transfers half the litter to her daughter’s rabbit hutch. She then returns to the “mama bear” and tries to coax the rest of the family into a basket. But the adult opossum has other ideas.
With her motherly instincts kicking in, the protective animal goes in search of her missing brood. With her other babies clinging to her back, the opossum mom sets off on foot through McVicar’s home.
Squeaking as she shuffles toward the backyard, the mother finds the rest of her young are safe and sound. The reunion is met with words of encouragement from McVicar. “You made it! You made it, mama!” she says.
With all her babies successfully on her back, the adult opossum takes her family on a new outdoor adventure. McVicar shouts her heartfelt goodbyes as they scuttle off into the distance.
“Hey, momma from another momma,” McVicar can be heard saying. “Awe, I’m going to miss you. You taught me a lot.”
Deciding to share her heartwarming tale, McVicar posted the video on YouTube, and within days it had amassed 16,000 views. The hilarious clip, however, has since been watched over a million times.
McVicar’s story even attracted some celebrity attention. Her cousin Gabriel Macht, an actor on the TV series Suits, shared the story with his followers on Twitter. “My cousin found a possum in her closet… all I found in mine was a pair of shoes… go figure!” he wrote.
Opossums are sometimes referred to as possums; both are marsupials, but technically possums are very distantly related to the American marsupials, and more closely related to kangaroos. A female opossum can give birth to as many as 25 young in one litter, but since she only has 13 teats for them to nurse, no more than 13 usually survive.
The nocturnal creatures are nomadic by nature and usually rather solitary. They mostly reside in trees and logs, but they can sometimes, as here, find their way into people’s homes.
McVicar’s house, after all, was pretty animal friendly. She guesses that the opossum came in through the same opening her daughter’s rabbit, Mustache, uses.
And although she was clearly shocked to find an opossum living in her closet, McVicar empathized with her furry friend, despite their initial hostile encounter. This is because the pair had something in common – they’re both moms.
“Her demeanor changed when my demeanor changed,” McVicar explained to ABC7. “I really did have a moment when I saw her children and I was like, ‘What’s going on?’” Fortunately for all involved, the story had a very nice, happy ending.