Heidi the Cross-Eyed Possum Is an International Sensation
After mass-circulation newspaper Bild printed her photo in late December, Heidi's fame has spread like wildfire. She has a YouTube video and song dedicated to her, and as of last count, she has more than 200,000 Facebook fans.
Both Heidi and her sister Naira, who is also cross-eyed, are originally from North Carolina, where they were born in 2008. According to the zoo, "they were found as orphans and raised in a wild animal sanctuary." The sisters moved to Germany in May 2010.
Officials at the zoo aren't sure why Heidi and Naira are cross-eyed, but speculate that it is the result of poor nutrition; Heidi was overweight when she first arrived at the zoo. It could also be that "fatty deposits behind the eyes are pressing the eyeballs slightly out of the eye sockets." Not that any of this is slowing down the possums. Heidi's crossed eyes don't affect her ability to get around; as a nocturnal animal, she mostly uses her nose.
Looking more like a stuffed animal than a real-life possum, it's only fitting that Heidi has inspired a new doll – and not surprising in Knut-crazy Germany. Toy manufacturer Ksener Spielzeug Manufaktur will be adding a hand-made Heidi later this month to its collection of possums and other animals.
For now, all her fans will have to be content to visit Heidi at Facebook. Her new residence, Gondwanaland, a tropical rainforest exhibition, won't open to the public until July 1st.
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