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Possums as Pets

Updated on August 29, 2017

Could Possums Be The New Cat?

When the average person considers getting a new pet for their home, it usually implies a dog, cat or even an aquarium full of fish. Very few people, however, have even taken the time to consider a different choice of pet, like a possum. A possum is a nocturnal marsupial and is known for it's long nose, jagged teeth and ability to hang from it's tail. It is often viewed as a wild animal rather than a possible pet. However, the benefits to having possums as pets are countless.

One appeal of owning possums as pets is that they are very affectionate creatures. They love a good snuggle and enjoy spending time with their owners. A little known fact is that they are very clean animals despite common misconceptions. People often view them as being dirty because they are known to dig through trash when in the wild. However, this is simply not true. A possum cleans itself frequenty throughout the day and likes to maintain a healthy and clean coat.

Those who are considering keeping possums as pets must know that it is very important to obtain a baby between the ages of 5 and 8 weeks so that the possum will have an easier time adapting to domestic life. It is also important to hold and play with the possum often to help it get used to human interaction.

Taking in possums as pets can be a big responsibility and one that should be thought through carefully. However, with the right planning, correct approach and the right attitude you may have just found yourself the world's most lovable pet.

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

Feeding A Baby Possum

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Warning

No one should feed a possum without some form of training. These are wild animals and their behavior can be unpredictable or even dangerous.

Fun Facts About Possums

1. Possums lived in the days of dinosaurs. Earliest fossils are from 70 million years ago.

2. Possums have thumbs on their hind feet

3. If attacked, possums often pretend to be dead

4. Very few possums survive until adulthood

What You Didn't Know About The Opposum

Common Possum
Common Possum

Possums As Pets Legality

It Varies From Place To Place

There is certainly going to be a vast multitude of different laws governing the legality of having possums as pets. In the United States, it is not very common for individuals to have this animal as a house pet. Therefore, many states have outlawed this altogether. However, states like West Virginia allow citizens to keep possums as pets so long as they apply for a permit. These permits only cost $2. The penalty for having possums as pets without a permit is $500 though. This highlights the importance of knowing the laws of the area.

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

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Should Possums As Pets Be Legal?

The Difference Between Possums and Opossums - Its Not Always Just A Different Way Of Saying It

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

Some people have confused themselves into believing that the only difference between a possum and an opossum is a way of saying the same thing. This is typically true in North America, but the possum is a whole other creature than the opossum. The possum is not native to North America, so many of us are not in regular contact with the creature. However, it is essential to understand that no one would be asking about possums as pets if they were talking about the actual possum critter.

Above is a picture of an actual possum with its offspring. The possum is native to New Zealand after being brought there by European settlers. Its ability to reproduce well have made the number of possums in New Zealand grow to a point of making the animal something to get rid of. There have been several attempts to irradicate the animal from the island nation, but none of worked so far. With no natural predators on the island, the possum has continued to grow in population. The damage that this animal does to the trees and other wildlife have caused ecological and economic damage to the region. It would appear that the people of New Zealand would much rather be rid of the animal than ever consider possums as pets.

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    • profile image

      Amb03 20 months ago

      Opossums have always given me the heebie geebies but after googling around and reading this article and the other comments I feel a lot less heebs and jeebs. I have to say they looked cute beeing cuddled but maybe we should get the dog population in control before we start keeping opposums as pets. ✌

    • profile image

      mackinnondanielles 5 years ago

      Animal Communicator, Animal Communication, psychic,psychic exercises

      Intuitive Consultant Danielle MacKinnon is the author of numerous online classes on Animal Communication, Free Psychic exercise ,Soul Contract, Animal Communicator , Psychic, Animal Intuitive

      For more detailsâ please visit our website http://www.daniellemackinnon.com/store/animal-comm...

    • profile image

      mackinnondanielles 5 years ago

      Animal Communicator, Animal Communication, psychic,psychic exercises

      Intuitive Consultant Danielle MacKinnon is the author of numerous online classes on Animal Communication, Free Psychic exercise ,Soul Contract, Animal Communicator , Psychic, Animal Intuitive

      For more detailsâ please visit our website http://www.daniellemackinnon.com/store/animal-comm...

    • profile image

      PetMemorialWorld 5 years ago

      I had a New Zealand possum as a pet. They are good fun when they are young but they get a bit grumpy as they get older. You have to admit that they are a lot prettier than the American opossum.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 5 years ago

      I like watching opossums play in the wild but would probably not recommend anyone have one as a pet.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 5 years ago

      Nice lens but I need to correct you on the fact that possums are native to Australia and New Guinea. They were taken to New Zealand some years ago and are now in such numbers there that they are considered a pest. We had possums in our roof when we lived in Pymble, Sydney. They used to keep us awake at night banging around and they loved the passion fruit that grew on the gum trees. They are lovely animals but should not be encouraged into the home.

    • ananimoss2 profile image

      ananimoss2 5 years ago

      Very interesting... stii not sure about possums as my pet.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      They look very cute, but I still wonder if they could really be friendly with humans.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      It is sad that in New Zealand they are considered a pest, everything on this planet fights for survival and procreating is how they want to increase their numbers, this goes for everybody's instincts including man's. This is a lens full of information and I loved the You Tube videos

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      I never knew this. We have them around from time to time. Didn't know they could make good pets. Thanks for the info.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Yes in most areas of the U.S. they are considered pests. I don't believe in harming any animal, but there are those who will go out of their way to kill one of these little fellows. Thanks for new information on the Possum...hope the word spreads to others to treat them more humanely. But I do believe they should be left in the wild.

    • jdwheeler profile image

      jdwheeler 5 years ago

      I live in the southern United States and possums are everywhere. I'm glad to have read this page, because I really had the wrong idea about them. I will probably never have one as a pet, but I do have a little more respect for them. Thanks for enlightening me.

    • KingLobster LM profile image
      Author

      KingLobster LM 5 years ago

      @jdwheeler: Thank you for the read. I didn't know anything about the information on possums in this lens until I started doing the research. It was a very enlightening and interesting experience for sure.

    • KingLobster LM profile image
      Author

      KingLobster LM 5 years ago

      @JoshK47: I completely agree. Well the baby ones are cute I think, but the adult ones I have mixed feelings on. Thank you for the SquidAngel blessing.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Cute little critters - not sure I'd want one running around my house, though. Blessed by a SquidAngel! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      You sure have a nice balance of information here to help those who are considering bringing a new pet into their home. I was surprised to learn that possums are affectionate and like to cuddle with humans. I was among those unaware that a possum and opossum are very different critters. Well done!

    • KingLobster LM profile image
      Author

      KingLobster LM 5 years ago

      I am glad that I seem to be turning so many people into possum converts. haha. I don't think that I could personally ever see myself keeping one, but I am happy that others are finding it to be such an appealing idea.

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 5 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      We're looking at a rodent of sorts as a pet. We live in an apartment that doesn't allow cats, dogs or birds. I'd never heard of keeping a possum as a pet - found this to be a very interesting article :)

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 5 years ago from United States

      What a precious pet possum! Now this makes me really want one! I wonder if they would get along with my dogs? I kinda have my doubts, but one can never tell about animals. I had a lab once who loved my daughters fat cat and I have a little golden retriever now who thinks all baby animals are her own babies. She would probably love a possum. Merlin, our young lab, would probably engage in endless chase games with the poor critter.

    • KingLobster LM profile image
      Author

      KingLobster LM 5 years ago

      Wonderful cffutah. I am glad to have you as a reader, and thank you for commenting in the debate forum as well. Lisadh, I completely agree. I have never had an opossum as a pet before, and I would never want to. This article was written more out of interest in the subject more than anything else. Also, there is an opossum living in my apartment complex, so its dedicated to him.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      hadn't thought about having this for a pet before, I liked your article and the plus about them, earned a 'thumbs up' from this avid reader.

    • LisaDH profile image

      LisaDH 5 years ago

      We had a possum for a pet, but she didn't have much personality. I think dogs and cats make better pets, and wild animals should be left wild.

    • KingLobster LM profile image
      Author

      KingLobster LM 5 years ago

      Yes, it is something I had never thought of either. There is currently an opposum hanging around my apartment complex, so I decided to do some research. This was the end result.

    • seoftlauderdale profile image

      seoftlauderdale 5 years ago

      I never thought of having one of those critters as a household pet. Very interesting!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      We possum sat for our friend's possum, Wilson, for a week once, several years ago. He was a cutie!