Luna the Opossum

Written by Kim Sharkey

Meet Luna the Houston Zoo’s resident Virginia opossum. Although she is beautiful, she is so much more than just a pretty face. Luna does not look like your typical opossum because of her striking white coat, which is known as leucism.  This is a condition in which there is a partial loss of pigmentation. Her unique coloration meant that she would not have a high survival rate in the wild, which is one of the reasons that she now lives at the Houston Zoo.

Luna is now in the Children’s Zoo where she is an ambassador animal and representative for her species in the wild. She routinely goes out with staff for keeper chats and conservation education programs where she helps educate guests about opossum’s importance in the environment.

Opossums are often seen as a nuisance and not desired in backyards and gardens, however they are very critical in the controlling of pests that can contribute to disease transmission to humans. While you sleep, these nocturnal creatures are busy eradicating pests such as rodents, insects and even feasting on carrion. Ticks that carry Lyme disease can pose a huge threat to humans and our pets but opossums do a great job in controlling them, eating up to 5,000 ticks every season.

Opossums have a partial immunity to snake venom and can consume most local venomous snakes including cottonmouths and rattlesnakes. The only snake they are not immune to is the coral snake. Researchers are currently looking to find the key to their natural anti-venom capabilities.

One last benefit to the opossum’s omnivorous diet is they consume a lot of fruit and plant matter. Preferring to eat the flesh of the fruit and spitting out the seeds and rinds means they are also great seed dispersers. So while they are cleaning up the forest floor they are also helping to replant it. Opossums play an important role in our environment along with many of the other animals at the Houston Zoo. Next time you visit the Children’s Zoo you might just be able to see one of these amazing animals and learn more about their role in nature.


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Social Media Guy to Sea Lion Keeper: Can you send me a pic of you working with the sea lions in this chilly weather?

Sea Lion Keeper: Sure... (sends picture next to sea lion statue)

SMG: I'm still using this.
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Social Media Guy to Sea Lion Keeper: Can you send me a pic of you working with the sea lions in this chilly weather?

Sea Lion Keeper: Sure... (sends picture next to sea lion statue)

SMG: Im still using this.


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Are there some zoo animals that enjoy this weather?

SMG is another reason why Houston Zoo is the best Zoo!

Are we positive that’s the statue rather than it really just being that cold? 😛

More snow for TJ and Max ❤️ lucky them!

That’s my best friend Sophie for ya! 😂


Omg the Zoo is so awesome 😂😂😂 Alana Berry

Omg be warm sweetoe

Haha!! Good one!

Sweetie 💞

Ashley Jucker 😂

Mike DePope

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We've heard of stalagmites but is stalagmice a thing? ... See MoreSee Less


Weve heard of stalagmites but is stalagmice a thing?


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Ok, it took me a minute to get this. I was literally zooming in to try to find the mouse. 🤦🏻‍♀️🙄😂

Cindy Christina Angela Ramirez see I told y’all! Lol

I fell for the mouse thing too..

“Baby it’s cold outside!”

That's nothing! Talk to keepers from the northern states or Canada!

i was honestly looking for a mouse lol

Johnnie R. Summerlin, cool, see the "stalagm ice"?

Wow,that is so neat!

Annecia Wesley but where is the ice bacon? Lol

Two words. Pipe insulation.

That’s awesome!

Ana Rivers Smith cool!


Pauline Ervin

Denise Daigre

Ashley Nguyen

Vicente Gonzalez

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Brrrr. It’s cold out there! We have made the decision to close the Houston Zoo tomorrow, Wednesday, Jan. 17. Don’t worry, the animals are safe and warm in their night houses!

A limited number of staff from departments like Animal Programs, Safety and Security and Operations/Facilities will be onsite to perform essential services and have the Zoo ready for us to reopen Thursday morning.

A big ol' high-five to our awesome team members who braved this icy cold to come in and care for our animals and zoo facilities.
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Safety and welfare of the animals first! Thanks guys for all you do.

Yes thank you for everything yall do to keep the animals safe .. y'all keep safe and warm

Thank you for taking good care of our animals!

Thank u for keeping those Babies safe and warm!❤️

Thank you for all you do!

Thank you for ZOO LIGHTS. it was amazing this year!

Thank you, zoo team. Stay safe!

Mandy Rinker— really? Too cold? You’re from the Midwest girl


thank you for all you do and keep the furry babies warm


Thank you for taking care of our precious animals that we love to come see!

Thank you for keeping those beautiful animals safe. 💕

Thank you for making sure the animals are safe and warm.

Thank you for all you do for these amazing animals!!

Go, Erika!!!

Thank you 💕


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