Alaska’s most-wanted opossum is settling into her new home at the Alaska Zoo

an opossum in a white room with on a bed of straw
Grubby is the first opossum to live at the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage. She was settling in on Friday. (Sam Lavin/The Alaska Zoo)

Grubby, Alaska’s most-wanted opossum, was settling into her new home Friday at the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage.

She arrived Wednesday night from Homer, and is the first opossum to claim residence at the zoo. Curator Sam Lavin said Grubby has been adhering to her nocturnal instincts by sleeping during the day and tearing up cardboard when she’s awake. Lavin said she’s working to win Grubby over.

“Mainly we’re doing trust building right now, getting her to associate us with food,” said Lavin. “Seeing people is less stressful when she associates them with food.”

It’s been two months since Grubby’s unexpected arrival in Alaska. She was a stowaway in a shipping container from Washington state that was bound for Homer in March. Once she got to the Kenai Peninsula town, she immediately caused a stir as she wandered around and evaded traps. Some people wanted her captured and killed because opossums are invasive to Alaska. But other rallied around her, launching the hashtag #FreeGrubby.

An opossum in a cardboard box.
Grubby is currently in quarantine. (Sam Lavin/The Alaska Zoo)

Police ultimately caught Grubby early Wednesday, and biologists decided to send her to the Alaska Zoo.

Right now, Grubby is technically in quarantine at the zoo. She’s living in an infirmary, and visitors can see her through a window. Her neighbors include a ground squirrel who’s also new to the zoo. 

The zoo plans to keep Grubby after she is done quarantining, but staff still need to decide how to design her exhibit. 

“Since they don’t live in Alaska, we’re going to have to keep in mind how she’ll do in the wintertime,” said Lavin. “We’re surprised that she survived out in Homer as well as she did considering the winter we had this year.” 

Zoo staff estimate Grubby is about 2 years old. They say the zoo has received various donations in the past 24 hours from Grubby’s supporters and her fanbase over social media has continued. 

RELATED: Homer police take Grubby the opossum into custody

Matt Faubion is a multimedia journalist at Alaska Public Media. Reach him at Read more about Matt here.

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