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Heidi, the cross-eyed opossum, becomes Germany's newest star. Thousands of fans are already following the animal's Facebook page.
She's middle-aged, grey-haired and stays up all night. Still, Heidi the cross-eyed opossum is Germany's biggest media sensation, and she has not even made her debut at the Leipzig Zoo.
Heidi appears to be the next in a line of animal celebrities in Germany. The two-and-a-half-year-old opossum has grown popular on Facebook, pushing 82,000 fans. She has sparked a popular song on YouTube and will soon star as a soft toy.
Zoo officials believe that Heidi's crossed eyes could be the result of a poor diet when she was young, causing fat deposits to develop behind her eyes -- neither of which causes her pain or poses a health risk.
[Stephan Kraa, Vet]:
"There could be many reasons for this. In the majority of cases it is inherited and is caused by a lack of synchronization with the eye muscles of the opossum. It can also be as a result of fat deposits behind her eyes and as Heidi's sister also has squint eyes, it is probably a genetic problem with them."
Poor vision is not much of a problem for Heidi. As a nocturnal animal, opossum's rely heavily on their sense of smell instead of their sight to get around.
The public will not get their first glimpse of the opossum until July when the zoo opens its tropical wildlife exhibit.
Demand for information about Heidi has been so high the zoo has dedicated a portion of its website to answering Heidi-related questions.
Heidi first appeared in Germany's mass-circulation newspaper Bild last month.
Heidi is the most recent example of animal celebrities in Germany in recent years, which have included Knut the polar bear in Berlin and the recently deceased Paul the octopus in Oberhausen, western Germany.