o is the biggest internet star of 2011 so far? Lady Gaga? Eminem? Wrong. It’s a fat, cross-eyed opossum from the Leipzig Zoo called Heidi. Check back through your forecasts by leading pundits about trends in 2011. I bet none of them saw that coming.
But with over 180 000 Facebook fans and a hit song on YouTube, Heidi is a veritable internet sensation. Her quirky, delightful appearance makes her instantly endearing and unforgettable. And the fact that she is woefully cross-eyed doesn’t seem to affect her health in the slightest.
Possums, being nocturnal creatures, rely more on their sense of smell than sight.
Heidi is not the first ‘German’ animal to become a celebrity via social media. Knut, a polar bear born in a Berlin zoo in 2006 and rejected by its mother, became a global celebrity and the focus of “Knutmania” after an animal rights activist wrote that it was more humane to put the animal down that raise him as a ‘domestic pet’.
Heidi faces no such controversy, and the only threats she is facing is a high-fibre diet to help her lose the weight which could be responsible for making her eyes bulge in such a distinctive manner.