If you’ve ever seen an opossum, their exquisite loveliness may have you wondering, Do Opossums make good Pets?
Well, while opossums are normally non-aggressive and even friendly, they are best left in the wild rather than in captivity, like other wild species.
Continue reading to learn why keeping these wild animals as a pet is not a smart idea and what to do if you come across one on your property.
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Possum vs. Opossum: Are They Different?
Possum and opossum are frequently confused terms. The distinction between an opossum and a possum varies depending on where you are or who you speak with.
Possum is typically used to describe the Australian variety, while opossum refers to the North American variety; they are both marsupials carrying their young in a pouch.
Making the distinction, on the other hand, can assist clear up any confusion when investigating this animal. Let us examine the distinctions:
- A possum is a marsupial that is endemic to New Guinea, Sulawesi, Australia, and parts of South America. These possums come in a variety of colors and sizes, ranging from less than an ounce to more than 20 pounds. Because there are so many different types of possums in certain parts of the world, they are frequently referred to by a specific name rather than the word possum.
- Opossums are distinguished by their white rat-like face and naked tail. These marsupials can weigh up to 13 pounds and grow up to 2.5 feet in length from tip to tail. It is North America’s only marsupial species. Opossums are sometimes known as Virginia opossums or common opossums. Some people name them possums since they are the only pouched mammal found in North America.
The two animals are very similar, but there are some key differences. Opossums are smaller and have a pointed face, while possums are larger with a more rounded face. Opossums also have prehensile tails, which possums do not.
Do Opossums make good Pets?
There are many things to admire about opossums as exotic animals. For one thing, despite their appearance, they are impeccably clean, grooming themselves as frequently as the ordinary housecat. Furthermore, they do not carry rabies, unlike mammalian pests.
However, they do not make good pets, no matter how fascinating they are. Opossums can be calm or friendly, according to eager pet owners.
However, just because they appear to be harmless does not imply they are any less wild than a raccoon or skunk. The critter on your lawn is not the same as a domesticated animal designed to interact with humans.
When it comes to pet ownership, opossums demand specialized care and a significant time and resource investment. They are the epitome of a large investment with little return.
More significantly, they are highly stressed in captivity, and keeping them as a pet might be damaging to the animal.
Let’s take a closer look at why, despite their cuteness, opossums aren’t the best pets:
Opossums are wild animals.
While cute and often considered “tame” by humans, Opossums are wild animals and cannot be kept as pets in captivity. They may look like they would make good pets, but they require a lot of care and attention that most people are not able to provide.
These wild critters have complex social needs that cannot be met in captivity. They require a lot of space to roam and explore, and they need access to trees and other hiding places. A captive possum will quickly become bored and may start exhibiting destructive behaviors.
Therefore, if you come across an opossum, it is best to leave it alone and let it go back into the wild.
Opossums can suffer from illnesses.
Yes, all pets are susceptible to illness or disease. However, a pet owner should consider whether or not they can care for a sick opossum. Not all veterinarians in your area have opossum-specific training.
Opossums with dental problems are also common. This could result in unexpectedly large medical expenditures.
Opossums are nocturnal.
Generally, opossums are the creatures of the night; that is, the majority of these marsupials will be active while you sleep.
Consequently, they may not receive the care and attention they require to mature into docile family pets.
Certain opossums are quite gregarious and can become depressed if left alone for an extended period of time. They may also keep you awake at night due to their cage movement.
Can You Legally Have an Opossum as a Pet?
A wildlife permit is required in a number of states to keep an opossum as a pet. This is because, while they may be cute and cuddly, opossums can also carry diseases and parasites that can be harmful to humans.
Therefore, it is important to understand that there are some legal considerations when it comes to owning an opossum as a pet.
That being said, before you decide to bring an opossum into your home, make sure you understand the legalities involved and contact your state wildlife agency for more information.
Opossums as pets dangers
Opossums are fascinating animals, but keeping them as a pet raises a number of issues. For instance, while the opossum is not known for being hostile, this element should not be overlooked.
Furthermore, you are repressing an opossum’s natural tendencies by keeping it in captivity. They dislike being held captive and will need to form a strong attachment with a human while they are young in order to coexist happily.
This is the same as any domestic animal’s necessary socialization procedure. If not, they may attack you out of rage or to protect themselves from being locked up.
In captivity, opossums are vulnerable to disease, mortality, and infection. And the majority of veterinarians lack the necessary experience to handle their patients’ medical problems.
Therefore, if you want to raise an opossum, you’ll need to find a veterinarian who is experienced with these kinds of health issues.
Do opossums attack humans or pets?
Opossum attacks are uncommon, but they do occur, which is why keeping a possum as a pet is not recommended. TB, leptospirosis, coccidiosis, tularemia, spotted fever, and other diseases are among the diseases transferred by pests to people and pets.
How to Deal With an Opossum on Your Property?
If you come across an opossum, it is not recommended that you attempt to handle it.
The reason for the same is many. For instance, these marsupials are known to carry a variety of diseases. Leptospirosis, TB, relapsing fever, tularemia, spotted fever, toxoplasmosis, coccidiosis, trichomoniasis, and Chagas disease are all diseases that opossums can transmit.
Furthermore, they may also contain parasites like fleas, ticks, mites, and lice, which are harmful to both human and veterinary health.
Consult a wildlife technician before attempting to make an opossum your new family pet, as opossums can be dangerous to you, your family, or your pets.
Remember, opossums can be securely removed and/or excluded from your property with the help of experienced personnel.
While opossums may make good pets for the right person, keeping them as household pets is generally not recommended.
There are a number of reasons for this, including their tendency to carry diseases, their high-maintenance needs, and the fact that they can be quite destructive. Furthermore, prepper research before deciding to own any exotic animal is also essential. You need to check with your state and county laws to make sure you are in compliance.
That said, it is important to remember that they are wild animals, and it is better to let them stay and thrive in their natural environment.