Do Possums Make Great Pets? What You Need to Know!

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Do Possums Make Great Pets

Last Updated on January 8, 2024 by Fumipets

Do Possums Make Great Pets? What You Need to Know!

 

Possums, with their unique appearance and often misunderstood nature, have sparked curiosity among animal enthusiasts about the possibility of keeping them as pets.

These marsupials are known for their adaptability and survival skills in the wild, but can they thrive as domesticated companions? In this article, we’ll explore the topic of possums as pets, considering their suitability, care requirements, and the legal and ethical aspects surrounding the idea of having a possum as a pet.

Do Possums Make Great Pets?


In the United States, cats and dogs are among the most common options for anyone considering having a pet. Others like smaller animals like fish, hamsters, rats, or rabbits. Others like to keep reptiles or amphibians as pets; common “exotic” choices include lizards, frogs, and snakes. What about a possum, though?

Possums typically do not spring to mind when people consider getting a pet. Since they are wild creatures, they often don’t make good pets and aren’t always allowed in homes. There are several possum species, nevertheless, that have thrived as domesticated pets. Which possums have the potential to make terrific home pets is covered in this article.

Possum vs. Opossum: Are They Different?

Possum and opossum are frequently used interchangeably. Due to the fact that these two animals are distinct from one another, this might cause some confusion when studying this animal. Let’s examine the variations:

  • An opossum is distinguished by its naked tail and white, rat-like face. Opossums may grow up to 2.5 feet long from their snout to their tail and weigh between 9 and 13 pounds. The marsupial is the only one to be found in North America. The opossum is sometimes known as the common opossum or the Virginia opossum. Some people refer to them as possums since they are the only pouched mammal species present in North America. These opossums are not the subject of this article.
  • One of the several marsupials that are indigenous to Australia, sections of New Guinea and Sulawesi, and some of South America is referred to as a possum. These possums come in a variety of colors and weigh anywhere from under an ounce to over 20 pounds. In some regions of the world, possums go by more than one name since there are so many different varieties to choose from. Some of these possums will be the subject of the article.
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Is a Possum a Good Pet Choice?

Possums are not the finest creatures to have as pets, despite the fact that some of them may be extremely adorable and simple to manage.

  • Possums are untamed creatures. Possums are still wild creatures, despite how little and adorable some of them may be. It is nearly hard to replicate their natural surroundings in enclosures or cages. Their social demands are more complicated. Possums may contain highly dangerous diseases that are lethal to people, depending on where you get them.
  • Diseases can affect possums. All animals can potentially get a sickness or illness. However, a pet owner should be mindful of whether they can care for the possum in case they become ill. Not every vet in your region has had specific education in possum care. Certain possums frequently experience dental issues. This can result in unexpectedly large medical expenses.
  • Possums are nocturnal animals. Most possums are likely to be active while you’re asleep. This implies that they could not receive the care or handling they require to become domesticated home pets. Some possums are particularly gregarious creatures that might become melancholy if left alone for an extended period of time. Their motion inside their cages could potentially keep you awake at night.

Is Owning a Possum as a Pet Legal?

There may be limitations on owning exotic animals in your region because laws differ from state to state in the USA. Exotic animal regulations may also alter. Animal rights organizations frequently attempt to make it illegal to possess any exotic or wild animal in the US. Before buying a possum if you decide to keep one as a pet, be sure you are aware of state regulations. Owning some animals is prohibited in some jurisdictions (and counties), while other states (and counties) need a permission.

Possum Species That Make Good Pets

Possums are advised to remain wild creatures. There are some, nevertheless, that have made good pets. Here is our selection of potential home pets that would be a wonderful addition to your family.

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Sugar Gliders

Due to their small stature and the folds of skin beneath their arms that enable them to glide from branch to branch, these little possums resemble flying squirrels. Females weigh 0.18 to 0.29 pounds, while males range from 0.22 to 0.35 pounds (100 to 160 grams) (80-130 grams). Both sexes have a life expectancy of 5-7 years. Despite being nocturnal, they are quite gregarious.

Due to their lively nature and gregarious nature, sugar gliders may make excellent pets. They require a bigger cage (at least 3′ x 2′ x 3′) so they may easily leap and climb. As a sugar glider may easily escape, make sure the cage’s bars are spaced no more than 0.5 inches apart. Buy these possums in pairs since they require a companion.

If kept indoors alone, sugar gliders may experience depression. To make your sugar glider tame, handle them every day. It is preferable to keep small children away from them since if they are held too tightly, they could nip.

Short-Tailed Possums

Brazilian indigenous with short tails resemble rats in appearance. Their tails are naked, but their coat is a grey-brown tint. Adults grow to be 4 to 8 inches tall, with a tail that is the same length as their body. They have a lifespan of 4 to 8 years.

As natural escape artists, these short-tailed possums require a cage that is escape-proof, such as a well-ventilated aquarium with a mesh top. Additionally, they will want a small tub to nest in and some trees to climb for amusement and exercise. These possums live alone, in contrast to sugar gliders. If two short-tailed possums are kept in the same cage, they will fight and may even turn on one another, killing them.

Conclusion

Possums are typically discouraged from being kept as home pets. Due to the fact that they are wild creatures, even a devoted pet owner may not be able to cater for all of their needs. The following advice should be kept in mind, however, if you do decide to keep a possum as a pet:

  • Look up the rules and regulations governing the possession of exotic animals in your state and county.
  • To determine whether you can provide the possum you want to buy a happy and healthy life, learn about it.
  • Look up any veterinarians who focus on the care of exotic animals in your region.
  • Find trustworthy dealers in exotic animals. Never buy possums from a stranger or an unknown supplier.
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Do not purchase a possum if you have any questions about whether it is the best pet for you. This is the greatest option for the possum and you!


Q&A on Possums as Pets

 

Are possums legal as pets in my area, and do they require special permits?

The legality of keeping possums as pets varies depending on your location and local regulations. Some regions may allow it with specific permits, while others may strictly prohibit possum ownership. Always check with your local wildlife authorities to understand the legalities in your area.

 

What species of possums are commonly considered as pets, and what are their characteristics?

Sugar gliders and brushtail possums are among the most common possum species kept as pets. Sugar gliders are small, social, and nocturnal, while brushtail possums are larger and more solitary in nature. Understanding the species’ characteristics is crucial for their proper care.

 

What are the main challenges of keeping possums as pets, and how can potential owners overcome them?

Keeping possums as pets can be challenging due to their specific dietary needs, nocturnal habits, and need for social interaction (in the case of sugar gliders). Potential owners should research extensively, provide proper housing, a balanced diet, and engage in regular socialization to meet their pets’ requirements.

 

Do possums make good companions for children or families?

Possums, particularly sugar gliders, can make fascinating and interactive companions for individuals and families who are prepared to meet their unique needs. However, their small size and nocturnal behavior may not be suitable for very young children or households with specific lifestyle restrictions.

 

What ethical considerations should potential possum owners be aware of before deciding to keep one as a pet?

Ethical concerns surrounding possum ownership include habitat disruption, potential harm to wild populations, and the importance of responsible breeding and adoption practices. It’s crucial for prospective owners to prioritize the well-being of possums and respect their natural habitats. Additionally, considering adoption from rescue organizations can be an ethical choice over capturing possums from the wild.

 

 

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