Keeping a Pet Opossum

Disclaimer: Most wildlife advocates and experts warn against keeping wild animals captive without extensive experience and resources to ensure their well-being. Opossums are considered wildlife, so keeping one as a pet is banned in some states. Regulations are subject to change. Always be sure to check the most recent laws in your state or country before attempting to keep an opossum as a pet.

North American Opossums, also known as Virginia Opossums, are nocturnal, solitary animals. They are very adaptable animals, able to live almost anywhere, as long as they have food, water and shelter. They often live in trees, where they are safe from predators. North American opossums are intriguing creatures that often go unnoticed in the wild.

In captivity, North American Opossums can live up to 10 years. In the wild, however, very few Opossums live past a year because of their many predators, including humans. The North American Opossum is the only marsupial native to North America. They can be found all across the United States and into Canada. North American Opossums are essential to the ecosystem of North America, helping keep populations of insects and rats down and eating carrion. In this blog post, we will delve into their background, dietary preferences, housing needs, and overall behavior.

Diet
Opossums are omnivores, meaning they consume both plant matter and animal protein. Their diet largely consists of fruits, vegetables, insects, small mammals, and carrion. To ensure a balanced and nutritious diet in captivity, Exotic Nutrition Opossum Complete is an excellent choice. Opossum Complete has been formulated to provide a healthy chicken and insect-based protein source for your opossum. The high ratio of calcium in the insects (BSFL) helps to prevent calcium deficiencies. Supplement the diet with Berries & Bugs Diet or Insectivore-Fare. You can also feed small amounts of Garden Fresh Re-Hydrate or fresh high-calcium vegetables (leafy greens, squash, sweet potato) and occasional protein sources such as insects, fish with bones, eggs with shell, or chicken.

Calcium is very important to Opossums, as is making sure they have the proper Ca:P (calcium to phosphorus) ratio. Without enough calcium, Opossums are at risk for Metabolic Bone Disease, a debilitating illness that usually results in permanent damage or death. Always feed a balance diet with proper calcium, and you can also use a liquid calcium supplement if you’re unable to give them enough supplementary foods. Other dietary supplements like Taurine and VitaGlow are also recommended for their overall health. 
Opossums are one of the world's most variably sized mammals, therefore feeding recommendations vary. It's important to know that opossums have a large appetite and a slow metabolism. Obesity is a common problem in pet Opossums. Their slow metabolism combined with their love of food makes overeating easy if you don’t strictly monitor the food they receive. The food they have access to must be healthy and nutritionally balanced.

     Housing

    Virginia Opossums are solitary animals that should be kept alone unless they’ve been raised together. Depending on the size of your opossum, the Mansion Cage or Borneo Cage are a suitable housing options, providing ample space for climbing, exploring, and resting. This allows Opossums to exhibit their natural behaviors comfortably. The ideal temperature for opossums is 71°F (22°C), but a good range is 50-86°F (10-30°C). The humidity should be at least 50% to prevent dry skin. Opossums will usually choose one area of the cage for a bathroom and can be trained to use a litter box. They also need a large nest box to use as a secure sleeping place, as well as branches to climb on within the cage. 

      Behavior
      Opossums are generally non-destructive once you understand their behaviors and take necessary precautions in the house. They don’t like being caged all the time and do best when they are allowed to properly bond with their owner from a young age. It’s a good idea to let them out often for exercise, but they need to be constantly supervised. Like cats, they are very curious and will get into anything that isn’t locked. Doors, cabinets, and even toilet lids should be secured to prevent them from getting where they don’t belong. It’s also important to closely supervise them if you take them outside so they don’t escape.

       

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      Comments (2)

      Edgar W Webb_

      So much of the time we’re warned not to keep so-called wild animals.
      I’ve been surprised to learn that in terms of longevity some of them not only thrive, they live longer in captivity.
      The Opossum has a life expectancy of ONE YEAR in the wild and TEN in captivity.
      Yes we should make an effort to understand their needs and always treat them right.

      James Evanhoe_

      My Opossum…PooZee aka Z
      Lady dropped as a tiny baby into an empty large dry field. Found him and what a great little guy. Now 4 months later Z has the run of the house at night. Loves scrambled eggs cooked just right, carrot juice, peeled seedless grapes and high quality steaks. Love him forever. Has 4 caves in the house of towels, small blankets and pillows. Only thing he DOES NOT LIKE IS WHEN I AM TEXTING OR ON MY LAPTOP..LETS OUT A …Please Stop!
      Great Animal Keep Him Safe.
      Regards
      JP
      23 DECEMBER 2023
      At: 5:12pm PT
      ASHLAND OREGON
      USA

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