Lea Murray, a vet tech in Tampa, said Barley, an opossum just over age 1, survived the car crash that killed his mother and seven siblings. She said she fell for Barley while nursing him back to health, WFLA-TV, Tampa, reported Monday.
"I was going to rehabilitate him and release him; that was the intention," Murray said.
Murray said she got a special permit from the state to keep Barley as a permanent pet.
She said he has been displaying model behavior.
"He does nothing wrong. He doesn't destroy anything -- doesn't tear up anything," Murray said.
"One of the huge misconceptions is, they don't typically get rabies. A lot of people think they do," Murray said. "Their body temperatures are real low, and also, they're the only native marsupial in North America."