When you think of cute cuddly critters, the usual suspects are probably kittens, puppies and maybe a bunny or two. Opposums ... well, they probably don't make the cut. The animals have a reputation of being ugly, dirty scavengers (and with images like these in circulation, we can see why), but this litter of babies is here to set the record straight.  

These five youngsters got a second chance at life thanks to YouTube user Terry Carlisi after their mother was hit and unfortunately killed by a car. “I've raised probably three litters of baby possums in the last five years," she explains. "They are the cutest things when they're so little and even when they get bigger they are still characters." 

Carlisi spent six months raising the babies, feeding them a mixed diet much like they would encounter in the wild. She eventually released them on 3,000 acres of countryside, and still gets a glimpse of her rescues every now and then.

Though commonly used interchangeably in the Americas, the names possum and opossum refer to different groups of animals. Possums are actually tree-going marsupials native to Australia, New Guinea and Sulawesi. They were named after their very-distant American relatives because of their similar body styles. 

Not enough baby opossum for you? Check out what this mother was hiding in a Los Angeles closet:

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Top header image:Vicky Somma/Flickr