Do Opossums Make Good Pets?

You may have found an orphaned opossum in a garden and wonder if you can keep it as a pet. Well, in most states it is illegal to do that without a wildlife rehabilitation permit. However, it's not advisable that you keep opossums as pets as they are wild animals.  Restricting them to your house would make them uncomfortable and may stress them out. Also, opossums are wild animals, therefore, keeping them as pets are exposing yourself, your children and pets to potential harm. However, if you want to keep them as pets, read along as we guide you through everything. 

Wildlife Rehabilitation 
Every state issues a wildlife rehabilitator permit that allows the owner of the permit to keep the opossums. To qualify for the permit, you'll have to fulfill certain terms and conditions. You might be asked to volunteer for certain credit hours with a local wildlife rehabilitator. Also, you might have to take a few classes on the subject and pass an exam. However, simply acquiring a permit isn't enough to keep opossums as pets. You'll need to have the adequate experience, knowledge, and resources to keep the animal as a pet without any repercussions. 

Dietary Requirements of Opossums 
Ideally, you should keep opossums in your care if they are injured or sick. After they are recovered fully, you should release the animal back into the wild in its natural habitat. While you keep the opossum as pets, it's important to be aware of their dietary needs. Opossums are omnivorous animals that eat a variety of food. From grass to fruit and even small insects, the opossums would eat a wide variety of things. They also dine in on roadkill and other smaller rodents. If opossums have ever entered your house, you must have seen that they eat pet food as well.  Hence, the diet of opossums is versatile as it helps them get the necessary nutrition for their survival. Therefore, replicating their natural diet while keeping them as pets can be quite troublesome. You'll need to ensure that they have a balanced diet, so their calcium-phosphorous levels are balanced. If they are provided with insufficient nutrients, they can develop a metabolic bone disease which can result in the fatality of the animal. 

Life Expectancy 
Studies have shown that opossums have a considerably short lifespan of three years at most. However, this can be increased twice if they are kept in captivity and are taken proper care of by a qualified person.  Without proper supervision, they can get ill quickly and may die inside captivity. Therefore, all your financial and emotional investment would go to waste. Therefore, it's recommended that you don't keep opossums as pets for longer periods of time and release them back into wild once they are fully recovered.

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