EXPIRED: 09/28/11 – Heidi, 3, overcame adversity and found celebrity despite being considered ugly. The orphaned 3-year-old opossum, originally from North Carolina via Virginia, was cross-eyed and looked as dumb as a box of dust, but inspired a YouTube song, a line of stuffed animals, and a Facebook page with almost 400,000 followers.
Heidi was offered to appear at the 83rd Academy Awards earlier this year but instead appeared on the late-night show Jimmy Kimmel Live!, in which she predicted the winners of three Oscar categories. She missed one prediction, choosing the long-shot Oscar-nominated 127 Hours to win over the eventual Oscar-winning The King’s Speech for Best Film. A Heidi stuffed animal was included in some gift bags available to Oscar guests.
The Leipzig Zoo in Germany, Heidi’s home for the last year, said Wednesday that the marsupial had been listless and unable to move for several weeks. After repeated attempts to treat her failed, the eyelids on her little crossed eyeballs were shut and she was put to sleep.
Heidi’s crossed eyes may be caused by fatty deposits behind her eyes, the result of poor diet from when she was younger. While this condition does not affect the opossum’s health in any way, mainly because opossums are nocturnal, it would nonetheless make her vulnerable to predators in the wild.The zoo put Heidi on a strict diet shortly after her arrival; it was reported in late January that she had already lost 400 grams (about one pound).
German zoos have had several notable celebrity animal guests in recent years, including polar bears Knut and Flocke, and Paul the Octopus.They all died, too.