Can we keep possums as pets? By joining, or logging in via Facebook, you accept Change.org’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. We use minced possum meat in our Lamb and Possum adult dog food as wild caught NZ Possum is an excellent source of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. So far he is growing rapidly and seems to be doing well. The possum is the animal we are discussing in this article, but it is also known as the opossum. Choose an appropriate home comprising a nesting box, exercise wheel for nighttime and branches to climb on. 1. They also have great dexterity, making them able to open drawers, cabinets and other things they shouldn't. Possums can cause catastrophic dieback, the complete collapse of a forest canopy – especially tree species that possums prefer, such as rātā and kāmahi. So it isn’t a good idea to have a possum if you have parrots. A native of Australia, the possum was introduced into New Zealand between 1837 and 1840 to establish a fur industry. Possums as pets dangers. It's an offence to breed, knowingly communicate, exhibit, multiply, propagate, release, or sell a pest except under certain circumstances (see section 52 and section 53 of the Biosecurity Act 1993). They are now about 6 months old. Permits must be obtained before trapping possums. Provide lots of “escape routes” for possums to get away from dogs – trees and sturdy trellis leading up to high walls and rooftops provide such routes. Opossums, however, are more commonly referred to simply as possums in the South and Midwest of the USA. But my critters seem to have a different opinion on wanting to be returned to the wild as we originally intended to do. In captivity, they may survive for longer, if proper nutrition and care are received from a qualified handler. ... especially the fact that keeping an opossum as a pet will bring a lot of serious challenges for the owner. They have long snouts and small, sharp teeth. What is the difference between a possum and an opossum? It's illegal to keep possums in captivity in Northland but possum lovers say they make "highly intelligent, lovely pets". These creatures are curious and agile. This article is about Opossums, not Possums... Its the same animal, you idiot. Thats why hunters rave about feeding possum to … In fact, about 70% of the plants and animals found in NZ can be found nowhere else in the world! Grow vegetation that will provide natural food sources, like flowers and fruit, for brushtail possums. In 1921 the Government made it illegal to bring any more possums to New Zealand. Just different pronunciations. Another black possum caused Hitchens disbelief when she found it playing with her cats. Opossum or possum photos courtesy of the U.S. The possum has a thick, bushy tail, thick body fur, a pointed snout and large, pointed ears. It will not pee or poop if you don't do this and will die. "She died half-way through bringing up her last but it was well developed and certainly able to survive. Possums are also prone to disease, death, and infections in captivity. Others have become reliant on humans to the point that sending them to the wild will mean they have little chance of surviving. Keeping Possums as Pets: Why Possums Are Good for Nature. Once healthy, rehabilitated possums should be released into the wild where possible. Agriculture. Even though some people to it, more often than not, it turns out bad for the animal. The trap holds the possum, which usually curls up and goes to sleep once it realises it can’t escape. I just found a baby possum,it has it`s eyes open but is so weak it has trouble walking,or maybe it`s still learning? HE'S ONE OF VERY FEW IN NEW ZEALAND KEPT AS PETS, PERFECTLY LEGALLY. Technically, you need a permit to keep a possum as a pet, but the Department of Conservation doesn't enforce that law, as long as the possum stays on the property. Obviously the person who wrote this article has never had a pet possum. It is important to be patient with these possums and permit them to smell you before picking them up. The North American Opossum is the only marsupial living in the north and parts of Center and South America. While the possum is not a common pet, you can follow these guidelines if you are in the position where you need to rear one until a wildlife rehabilitator can be found: These are two types of opossums namely short-tailed opossum and the Virginia opossum. As others have said here, it takes work and dedication to assure their health and well being. But by then, possums were already living in 450 different parts of New Zealand. Short-tailed possums are solitary creatures with night time habits, so they do not like captivity. They are never referred to as an opossum, which is why many call the American kind the opossum and the antipodean variety simply the possum. Fish and Wildlife Service Opossums can carry parasites that affect horses and birds. Even though some people to it, more often than not, it turns out bad for the animal. Stress and tension experienced due to confinement and lack of exercise as well as proper diet are the main barriers to the survival of possums in captivity. The question of whether these animals fare well in captivity remains. Several EU nations halt UK flights, fearing virus variant, Quiz: Morning trivia challenge: December 21, 2020, New Zealand vs Pakistan: Tim Southee stars as Black Caps seal Twenty20 series, Son of former All Black stars at national under-19 cricket tournament, Fear strawberries won't be back next Christmas, fruit growers warn they can't continue, 'You must stay in your state': Victoria shuts out Sydney, sends police to border, Aliens or artists? We service over 500 USA locations! When they behave like nature intended they can be not so nice "pets". ... No pet possum either. Photo via flickr. When speaking of true possums, i.e. 0 0 1 0 The disease is endemic in possums across about 38% of New Zealand (known as 'vector risk areas'). Sometimes, an orphaned possum may be found abandoned. Need possum removal in your hometown? Possum fur is very soft and luxurious (the reason why they were introduced into NZ). As many posts on r/Opossums will be quick to inform you, possums should only be kept as pets when they require rehabilitative care and couldn’t survive on their own in the wild. Lack of immunity in captivity conditions can lead to bacterial diseases. Possums as Pets: General Guidelines and Tips, Kiwis as Pets: General Guidelines and Tips. The possum is a beautiful animal, but there are many specific concerns regarding keeping them as a pet. Agreed... "Opossums do not fare well in captivity" has to be the worst line of the whole article... in the wild they Are the "fare" so to speak. Then expect to pay a heck of a lot more than that on a suitable enclosure, diet, toys and furniture for them. Possums are established over more than 90% of New Zealand and are a very serious problem. Northland Regional Council biosecurity manager Don McKenzie said the council recently posted a warning to social media, after seeing people discuss keeping possums as pets. They are not rodents! My little fellow {Sweet Pea} loves egg yolk and cheese. First Evidence of Gregarious Denning in Opossums (Didelphimorphia, Didelphidae), with Notes on Their Social Behaviour. The common brushtail possum, Trichosurus vulpecula, was first introduced to New Zealand from Australia in 1837 to establish a fur trade. Based on where one resides, a volunteer may be needed with a wildlife rehabilitator to ensure your pet possum remains in good health. Their diet includes the following: The possum also feeds on small animals such as mice, rats, and roadkill. "But I wouldn't deliberately go out and find a possum to make a pet out of it.". Depending on where you are or who you speak to, there is either a lot or no difference between an opossum and a possum. This tends to happen after about 1 1/2 to 2 years or when your "pet" is sexually mature. Virginia possums run up about £500 each for babies, more for adults. No person is allowed to keep a possum in captivity as a pet, without the permission of the Minister of Conservation. earlier this year, we brought you the story of a very special possum, who lives in hamilton. Possums are defined as a pest under most regional pest management plans in New Zealand. We want to keep him but this article makes me question are we doing the right thing? At first, the animal can adapt to living with people. Wildlife rehabilitators are people who dedicate their lives (or at least large parts of them) to helping wild animals in trouble. A possums size can be little and computer mouse like yet various other types such as the Australian Brush rear can show up to be the dimension of your pet cat. The same goes for keeping possums as pets. "They eat the birds eggs, I have to provide a safe habitat. Scientists have no idea why they age so quickly. These animals generally don't fare well in captivity. Another important factor is that it is illegal to keep possums without a wildlife rehabilitation permit. They cannot be applied to every animal in a given species. The fur is about 4-6 cm in length with a dense cushioned undercoat. They eat the berries and flowers that are food for our native birds and insects. A possum. While the opossum is not generally an aggressive animal, this aspect should not be ignored. Possums are also a threat to native wildlife such as Kiwis in New Zealand. They are not widely available so you'd either have to find a breeder or get in contact with a specialised pet shop. Can you keep a possum as a pet NZ? Possums that live longer than a year may suffer from cataracts, lose coordination and become obese. Both need the care of a vet and treatment should basic health issues arise. When you notice that the opossum is lapping up it's puppy milk, you can offer solid foods in the form of baby food, Pay close attention for the first week when offering solid foods as the opossum has a tendency to take too much and choke. Like all marsupials, possums have a pouch, or a marsupium. Opossums can be encountered in the backyard and pose a threat to pets and humans. In these areas, nearly 70% of new herd infections can be traced back to possums or ferrets. They rarely last more than a year or two because they are food for other animals. Opossums and many other wild animals will be attracted to the food, and you may even be putting your pet in danger by causing fights over the food. In this article we are talking about the North American possum, but it would be just as accurate to ask can you keep an opossum as a pet? Ensure they are safe from pets on your property Keep cats indoors, or confined to outdoor enclosures. Poor diets can lead to metabolic bone diseases that are expensive to treat and potentially fatal. Learn more about possums as pets in terms of their advantages and disadvantages. They are ment to be wild animals. The majority of vets don’t yet have the experience to deal with their health issues. Opossum attacks are rare, but they do take place, which is why having a possum as a pet is not such a good idea. Possum Enrichment. The diet is varied including corn and poultry. READ MORE: *Temuka woman's beloved pet possum goes missing *Possum punch video 'animal cruelty': Environment Canterbury, SPCA *Luna the baby possum bids farewell to her 'mother' who saved her  *Pet possum safely home after lolly lure  *Secret possum rescuers: the people who love a hated New Zealand pest. So now we obtain to the great stuff. Possums rarely earn positive reactions and begs of "Can I hold him one more time?" Diets in captivity cannot hope to match the diversity of the animal's diet in the wild. "If another one turned up like she did, I would feed it - it's almost a compliment to have a wild animal stay there. By 1950 possums were found in over half of New Zealand and they kept spreading. Keep pet food inside. However. Stimulation is a simple process. Do not litter train them if they can be. The worst part about keeping an opossum for a pet is that they don't have a long lifespan..... Other than that they make Awesome pets! A wild one would tear you to pieces! I have recently found a possum and it says I need a permit to keep it. The best way to keep them from visiting is to have tight-fitting lids on garbage cans, not to leave any pet food outside overnight and to remember to pick up any fruit that has fallen from trees. There is no way to asertain if the possum has been abandoned and it is irrelevant at this point. These creatures steal chickens. Since the arrival of people 750 years ago 75 plant and animal species have gone extinct and many, many more are at risk of disappearing. Common brushtail possum. These creatures are a similar size and have similar behavior, but are not the same species. Update: Ju5tin - I regret to inform you that youre wrong. They make very poor pets. This is something important when considering opossums as pets. Yes you can. Opossums will want to climb over everything in your home. Based on your description of size, open eyes and behaviour it is at least 8 weeks old. https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsbl.2015.0307, Toucans as Pets: Guidelines and General Tips, Third Eyelid Showing in Cats - Causes and Treatment, Curly Haired Dog Breeds - List and Description, When to Give a Puppy a Bath for the First Time, How to Control a Male Dog Around a Female in Heat, Is my Dog about to Give Birth? If your dog or cat spends most of its time outside, stick to a feeding schedule rather than leaving food outside around the clock. It's illegal to keep possums in captivity in Northland but possum lovers say they make "highly intelligent, lovely pets". Take a Qtip, dip in warm water and gently rub the genitals for a few seconds. The possum will likely want to run out of the house, much like many a pet cat. More directly, they can cause a wide range of far more dangerous diseases, such as tuberculosis, spotted fever, leptospirosis, and others. The tips provided in this article are the ones used to help care for sick or injured possums. for more information. Because possums are so regularly hit by cars or otherwise killed, there are many orphaned baby possums in the world. 1. Apply for a permit. The opossum is an omnivore. Contact us for your local agent. They seem to know that indoors they have air conditioning, food, and good housing. Omega Pet Food Product Background. In North America, opossum and possum describe the same thing, but in Australia the word possum refers to a completely different animal. I work in a wildlife shelter with brushtail possums & can tell you that as babies they are so cute but as they mature become aggressive. Here are just a few of the animals that you can't keep as pets in Alabama (not that you'd want a pet piranha of course.) Mysterious metal monolith pops up in Christchurch, the latest home to the global phenomenon, Mystery surrounds boat ordered to leave Fiordland, Questions raised after police officers stop youths to take their photos. In general, it is not recommended to keep possums as pets. Dangers of a possum infestation. The average density in the North Island is equivalent to four possums per hectare, but can reach 25 animals per hectare on pasture bordering areas of native forest and shrubland. This is particularly the case with a baby possum as they are indeed vulnerable. But, is it truly right to keep a possum as a pet? While the opossum is not generally an aggressive animal, this aspect should not be ignored. Pygmy possums are not opossums, but the kind found in Australia we discussed above. In general, it is not recommended to keep possums as pets. But, as it grows, your will notice that it is turning into a wild animal, and that it starts displaying some animal instincts. It is essential to strike a balance in order to remain healthy. While the opossum is not generally an aggressive animal, this aspect should not be ignored. In the wild, the possum is usually docile and will not attack you without confrontation. This female possum lived happily in Ronnie Hitchen's shed in Kaitaia. "They compete directly for food for native birds, they like to eat bird chicks and eggs, and dine out on insects, they are real omnivores.". To keep the opossum/possum legally, a wildlife rehabilitation permit is needed from the state. Can you keep a possum as a pet? Temuka woman's beloved pet possum goes missing, Possum punch video 'animal cruelty': Environment Canterbury, SPCA, Luna the baby possum bids farewell to her 'mother' who saved her, Secret possum rescuers: the people who love a hated New Zealand pest. opossums and possums aren’t the same animal. 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