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Opossums are medium-sized marsupials that are native to America. They occur naturally in woodlands and now more frequently around human dwelling due to the encroachment of deforestation into their natural habitat. Some people think they look super cute, but are they really pet material?
Although opossums can be kept under certain circumstances and with the right permits, keeping the furry critter for a pet is outlawed in most of the United States for the following reasons:
- They are in actual fact, wild animals. Thus, they are not meant for captivity living
- They are carriers of several zoonotic diseases that can easily spread to humans and domestic animals.
- The life expectancy of an opossum in captivity has been found to be shorter than that of a wild-living opossum, which shows that they survive better in the wild.
Besides, the suitability of an opossum for a pet is dependent on several factors. Caring for an opossum is a quite extensive and stressful undertaking lest the animal would die fast from inadequate care. A baby opossum, for instance, requires feeding about five or six times in a day, short of which it would not develop as needed and may not survive.
Yet another consideration is that opossums are nocturnal creatures, and this means they need to be fed at night while humans would need to be sleeping.
As they grow older, opossums would become destructive around the house, or wherever they are kept – chewing at things – wood, cable, and everything in between. They will also reveal a yucky love for garbage. Besides, the adults would need a lot of space to thrive.
If You Must
Nevertheless, if it is legal in your state to keep an opossum for a pet and you are determined to raise it properly, you may give it a try it. Acquire the right permits from the relevant authority and stock up on extensive knowledge of wild animals - including their habitats, feeding mode, diets and other vital stuff. Also get some expert guidelines to follow.
If at all, it is advisable to start raising an opossum from when it is a baby so it gets used to you faster. Invite a veterinarian or wildlife rehabilitator over from time to time so they can check on the animal and monitor the progress you are making with it.
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