A mom recorded the sweet moment her 3-year-old saw a possum for the very first time, and her joyful reaction is touching animal lovers’ hearts all across TikTok.
Mom and former Bachelor star Bekah Martinez (@bekah_martinez) gained over 1.1 million views in just five days when she uploaded the endorphin-boosting footage to her account.
Now, much like the toddler and pug whose pure joy over a simple flashlight lifted people’s spirits around the world, little Ruth and her new possum friend are illuminating the dark corners of the Internet with their friendship.
The video begins with a shot of the little possum sitting peacefully among the purple blossoms of the family’s wisteria tree.
Bekah then cuts to 3-year-old Ruth, staring up wide-eyed at the timid critter. “Hiiii lil guyyy,” Ruth gently coos. “Is kuh-yoot!”
But Ruth’s now-viral reaction to meeting her very first possum isn’t just sweet. It’s actually a valuable teaching moment about possums, whose reputation as being “creepy” or “gross” overshadows just how incredible they are.
In addition to being North America’s only marsupial (putting them in the same class as koalas, kangaroos and wombats), they are incredibly beneficial in many ways.
- A single possum can consume more than 5,000 ticks in a season — specifically deer ticks, which are responsible for the spread of Lyme disease.
- Possums catch and eat cockroaches, rats, mice and poisonous snakes.
- Considered the “clean-up crew” of Mother Nature, possums are scavengers who consume dead animals (carrion) of all kinds.
- Gardeners will appreciate possums’ appetites for snails and slugs and their cleanup of dropped berries and fruit, which can sometimes carry diseases.
- Possums are naturally resistant to rabies and botulism and aren’t likely to spread these diseases.
“So loving and empathetic…”
TikTokers were immensely touched by Ruth’s sweet reaction to her new possum friend.
“Do we have a future wildlife rehabilitator on our hands?” one user asked in the comments.
“I hope my kids love animals as much as this kid does,” another person wrote.
“Possums get a bad rap, this kid knows what’s up,” commented another.
“I’ve always been super creeped out by possums, because of their tails and hissing… but I think Ruth just made me appreciate them more,” wrote another.
“This pulled me out [of] an anxiety attack and made my day! Thanks for the huge endorphin boost Ruth!” one user wrote.
“So, so, so adorable. I hope she stays this sweet forever,” commented another.
Other TikTokers shared their own experiences with children and their pure love for nature.
“We had a slug come in with our slide and my 2-year-old said, ‘HE’S MINE FRIEND!'” one person shared.
“Ugh she’s adorable… so loving and empathetic. I teach swim lessons and this little girl said, ‘I love flamingos BUT ALSO EVERY SINGLE ANIMAL,’ and Ruth seems very much like that,” another user wrote, with a flurry of pink heart emojis trailing behind.
If humans hope to have a future here on planet Earth, we should all make it a priority to learn from children by respecting, appreciating and protecting wildlife — no matter how “creepy” or “gross” some creatures might seem.
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