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Tampa Bay vet tech hopes pet possum changes perceptions

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A car hit his mother and seven brothers and sisters. Now a Tampa Bay area vet tech is raising him as if he's her own baby. She cuddles him in a blanket and walks him in a stroller.

"Everybody usually thinks they're going to come up on a cute little baby and instead they find an adorable little possum," said Lea Murray.

Murray says Barley, her 1-year-old possum, is the best pet she's ever had.

"He does nothing wrong. He doesn't destroy anything, doesn't tear up anything," said Murray. "I just love him."

Barley is the sole survivor of the car crash. A driver brought him into the vet clinic where Murray used to work. She said she saved him, so he wouldn't be put down.

"I was going to rehabilitate him and release him, that was the intention," she explained.

She fell in love with him, instead, and got a special permit from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to keep him.

She brings him to work at her new vet clinic each day and lets him sleep in bed at night. When strangers stop them on the street, Murray says she uses the opportunity to teach them about possums.

"One of the huge misconceptions is, they don't typically get rabies. A lot of people think they do. Their body temperatures are real low and also they're the only native marsupial in North America," said Murray.

Barley, she warns, is no backyard possum and she urges people not to try to capture animals like him.

"They are wild animals. I just happened to get real lucky," said Murray.

You can watch more of Barley on Daytime on WFLA this Wednesday at 10 AM.

Barley is also on Facebook. Melissa put a link to him on her Facebook page.

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @WFLATAMPA

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