Agricultural inspectors captured a black-and-white male opossum Sunday after it was discovered in a trash bin on the U.S. Postal Service property at the Honolulu Airport. It's the second opossum in three months to be captured in the airport area. The animal was later euthanized.

Live opossum
found at airport

A worker discovered a live 15-pound opossum Sunday in a trash bin on U.S. Postal Service property at Honolulu Airport.

"We're not sure how it got in the trash bin," state Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Janelle Saneishi said. "It is in an offloading area for surface mail. It's possible it came in on a container and somehow found its way to the trash bin."

The Agriculture Department euthanized the opossum to perform rabies tests, which can only be performed post-mortem, Saneishi said. The tests will be analyzed by the state Department of Health.

A postal worker throwing trash into the bin noticed something moving inside and recognized it as an opossum. He called his supervisor, who reported it to airport agricultural inspectors.

The inspectors captured the black-and-white critter, a male 2 feet long from nose to tail.

This is the second opossum in three months to be captured in the airport area.

The first opossum, a gray male, was discovered June 19 at Hickam Air Force Base inside the cargo hold of a military chartered airplane that arrived from Travis Air Force Base. That animal was euthanized, and tested negative for rabies.

"In both incidents, quick action by airport-area workers resulted in the capture of these illegal animals," said Sandra Kunimoto, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. "Workers at all ports of entry are an important line of defense against the introduction of invasive species and we appreciate the postal worker's alertness and responsiveness."

Opossum are the only marsupials native to North America and are sometimes kept as pets. They are also less likely than other mammals to carry rabies, but may carry parasites and other diseases.

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