More directly, they can cause a wide range of far more dangerous diseases, such as tuberculosis, spotted fever, leptospirosis, and others. If you want to read similar articles to Possums as Pets: General Guidelines and Tips, we recommend you visit our Basic care category. 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. You must have a permit to capture, release or kill a possum. "They make highly intelligent lovely pets, but they can do a lot of damage.". If you are asking, “Can opossums be pets?” maybe the better questions revolve around how well you can maintain their natural lifestyle, and if you’d want to. These animals generally don't fare well in captivity. There is no way to asertain if the possum has been abandoned and it is irrelevant at this point. Their claws are sharper than a cats & are stronger too. The diet is varied including corn and poultry. At first, the animal can adapt to living with people. Possums as Pets: General Guidelines and Tips, Kiwis as Pets: General Guidelines and Tips. Need possum removal in your hometown? 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. Agriculture. Take a look at our article whether Possums dangerous for humans or pets? Wibowo Djatmiko. So it isn’t a good idea to have a possum if you have parrots. According to the article "keeping him in captivity" will make him aggressive and is not the best choice? However. But my critters seem to have a different opinion on wanting to be returned to the wild as we originally intended to do. I have recently found a possum and it says I need a permit to keep it. Should I keep possums as pets? Your possum also needs to be trained to use a litter box since childhood if they are never able to be returned to the wild. Possum Enrichment. dawsonfurs@callplus.net.nz. It's illegal to keep possums in captivity in Northland but possum lovers say they make "highly intelligent, lovely pets". In 1946, possums were officially declared a pest in the New Zealand environment. However, when Australia was colonized by Europeans, they took this word and applied it to another type of marsupial which is found there, but not in the Americas. However, possums come in grey and dark forms and there also are occasional albino animals. HE'S ONE OF VERY FEW IN NEW ZEALAND KEPT AS PETS, PERFECTLY LEGALLY. You may even need to pass a written exam or take a training class to get a permit. Possums that live longer than a year may suffer from cataracts, lose coordination and become obese. Possums have natural habits and behaviors they need to carry out. Possum fur is very soft and luxurious (the reason why they were introduced into NZ). "There are, however, strict criteria around breeding possums and putting them on public display." earlier this year, we brought you the story of a very special possum, who lives in hamilton. Words & images: Sheryn Dean Trappers use a soft leg-hold trap to catch possums. Lack of immunity in captivity conditions can lead to bacterial diseases. Dangers of a possum infestation. Their diet includes the following: The possum also feeds on small animals such as mice, rats, and roadkill. But, as it grows, your will notice that it is turning into a wild animal, and that it starts displaying some animal instincts. 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. But by then, possums were already living in 450 different parts of New Zealand. It is important to be patient with these possums and permit them to smell you before picking them up. Use wax tags to find out if you have possums. It's illegal to keep possums in captivity in Northland but possum lovers say they make "highly intelligent, lovely pets". Opossum or possum photos courtesy of the U.S. It is essential to strike a balance in order to remain healthy. I thought that if I followed the expert advice of possum specialists, I could keep my baby alive and happy. The opossum is an omnivore. "If I hadn't seen it, I wouldn't have believed it. A possum. Their scientific name is Didelphimorphia. Even though some people to it, more often than not, it turns out bad for the animal. Others have become reliant on humans to the point that sending them to the wild will mean they have little chance of surviving. 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. Wildlife rehabilitators are people who dedicate their lives (or at least large parts of them) to helping wild animals in trouble. The possum is a beautiful animal, but there are many specific concerns regarding keeping them as a pet. Possums are commonly found in the forests of New Zealand - their natural habitat. Then expect to pay a heck of a lot more than that on a suitable enclosure, diet, toys and furniture for them. To keep the opossum/possum legally, a wildlife rehabilitation permit is needed from the state. Both need the care of a vet and treatment should basic health issues arise. You need to find an animal doctor who is qualified to address this type of health problems if you are going to raise a possum. "She died half-way through bringing up her last but it was well developed and certainly able to survive. The stress of lost freedom, being close to humans … Common brushtail possum. Another Kaitaia woman who didn't wish to be named, said she grew up with a young possum after it was found curled up in her father's army coat pocket. Just different pronunciations. But it happened to me. These creatures steal chickens. In captivity, they may survive for longer, if proper nutrition and care are received from a qualified handler. The North American Opossum is the only marsupial living in the north and parts of Center and South America. They will wander around and snoop at everything eating bugs and such. "If another one turned up like she did, I would feed it - it's almost a compliment to have a wild animal stay there. An apple hung on a string will encourage the animal to bob for apples. My little fellow {Sweet Pea} loves egg yolk and cheese. For possums in captivity, the animals can be kept stimulated by hiding their favorite foods inside logs or hollow gourds. Poor diets can lead to metabolic bone diseases that are expensive to treat and potentially fatal. They cannot be applied to every animal in a given species. Black possums predominate in wetter, forested areas, including the Kaimai Range, Te Urewera, Westland, Fiordland and western Southland, and on Stewart Island and Chatham Island. Where can I get a permit and do I need to take it to the vet? 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. "Northlanders spend a lot of effort trying to get rid of them. They are ment to be wild animals. Possums carry mites, fleas, and ticks that may adversely affect the health of your pets. They do not like to be held captive and will need to seriously bond with a human when they are young if you can expect them to co-habitate peacefully. Based on your description of size, open eyes and behaviour it is at least 8 weeks old. The Brush-tailed Possum [Trichosurus vulpecula] is a marsupial or pouched mammal. I've even been told that he needs rabies shots? So now we obtain to the great stuff. They make very poor pets. Another important factor is that it is illegal to keep possums without a wildlife rehabilitation permit. If you are a possum "pet owner" I would really appreciate a more realistic guide or answer as I don't want to hold any species against their will. Photo via flickr. In addition, opossums are solitary animals and may not get along with other animals. In fact, about 70% of the plants and animals found in NZ can be found nowhere else in the world! Cannibalism is the consumption of another human's body matter, whether consensual or not. The tips provided in this article are the ones used to help care for sick or injured possums. "I do understand why you aren't allowed to keep them - they are an introduced animal and they do create a lot of damage. It may even cuddle and form a relationship with you. If they are being kept as pets, they could become overweight and potentially unhealthy. Learn more about possums as pets in terms of their advantages and disadvantages. Pests in terms of the diseases they spread to people and pets include TB, leptospirosis, coccidiosis, tularemia, spotted fever and other diseases. If not, then they may attack you our of frustration or in defense of being locked up. Virginia possums are nocturnal and enjoy a slow paced, calmer household as they are timid and frightened. They have to deal with predators and human intrusions. Possums have a voracious appetite for our native trees and plants. Ronnie Hitchens fed a female possum for two years after it made a home between sheds at her Kaitaia farm. Instead, I had to bury him after a long, hard death. The possum will likely want to run out of the house, much like many a pet cat. They are marsupials with prehensile tails, making them very good climbers. Then depending on male or female animals you can encounter some very hard to handle behavior. It continued to live in the shed and I fed it, then one morning I went down and it had gone. "But I wouldn't deliberately go out and find a possum to make a pet out of it.". Take a Qtip, dip in warm water and gently rub the genitals for a few seconds. 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? The marsupials compete with native wildlife for food, and eat birds eggs and insects. If you have existing pets (e.g., dog, cat), an opossum may not be a great addition. Possums rarely earn positive reactions and begs of "Can I hold him one more time?" 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. As others have said here, it takes work and dedication to assure their health and well being. They seem to know that indoors they have air conditioning, food, and good housing. These pets love to chew on wires and wires so search around to see to it that they are no place near your electric wiring as fires might be caused. The possum returned every night around dusk to play with the cats for two months. This article is about Opossums, not Possums... Its the same animal, you idiot. Possums as Pets: General Guidelines and Tips. When speaking of true possums, i.e. We service over 500 USA locations! Biology Letters, 11.https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsbl.2015.0307, Click to attach a photo related to your comment. However, these creatures are wild animals and they require rehabilitation. Taking a possum out of their natural habitat is essentially cruel and unnecessary. Diego Astúa, R., et al. Even though some people to it, more often than not, it turns out bad for the animal. Opossums will want to climb over everything in your home. Obviously the person who wrote this article has never had a pet possum. We also need to consider kindness. Some say it is cruel to not "return them to nature"? If it is then captured and contained it is impossible to provide the animal with the quality of life it has learnt to expect. 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. They can stay zoned out for hours, emitting a … They are not rodents! Domestication is a process which takes centuries. Keep pet food inside. Purchase a humane possum trap. Fish and Wildlife Service Opossums can carry parasites that affect horses and birds. However, making the distinction can help clear up any concerns on what you are dealing with. Contact us for your local agent. The New Zealand Government spends over $110 million* per year on possum control. Mine don't seem to support that opinion. Update: Ju5tin - I regret to inform you that youre wrong. & you dont have to find them all* but it would be cool if you could find as many as possible. I sleep with mine and he has free run of the house. Transforming a possum into a pet can be an expensive proposition and one fraught with dangers for these animals. Possums are vectors of bovine tuberculosis (Mycobacterium bovis), which is a major threat to the dairy, beef, and deer farming industries. This simulates what the mother does as an act of hygiene ( she eats the pee and poop } and this keeps the area clean. In the wild, the possum is usually docile and will not attack you without confrontation. There is quite a lot of interest about possums as pets. At first, the animal can adapt to living with people. Stimulation is a simple process. Breeding Opossum. Posted: (1 days ago) 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. 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? 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. The English word ‘possum’ was first used for this opossum variety. In which states is it legal to have a pet Opossum? Cold Case murder mystery: What happened to Marion Granville? I loved him dearly and it broke my heart. Like all marsupials, possums have a pouch, or a marsupium. Can we keep possums as pets? - 10 points to whoever finds out!? This is the same as the necessary socialization process of any domestic animal. If your dog or cat spends most of its time outside, stick to a feeding schedule rather than leaving food outside around the clock. The same goes for keeping possums as pets. The opossum is also a very good climber; please keep this in mind when considering an opossum as a pet. 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. We want to keep him but this article makes me question are we doing the right thing? Scientists have no idea why they age so quickly. Because possums are so regularly hit by cars or otherwise killed, there are many orphaned baby possums in the world. By joining, or logging in via Facebook, you accept Change.org’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. In North America, opossum and possum describe the same thing, but in Australia the word possum refers to a completely different animal. There are some individuals which have shown docility in front of humans, but not all possums will be the same. This AnimalWised article explores the possibility of raising possums as pets and whether they should be released once they reach adulthood. We take them outside almost daily to let them forage and get adjusted to nature. (2015). 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. Opossum attacks are rare, but they do take place, which is why having a possum as a pet is not such a good idea. 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? Because possums are so regularly hit by cars or otherwise killed, there are many orphaned baby possums in the world. Based on where one resides, a volunteer may be needed with a wildlife rehabilitator to ensure your pet possum remains in good health. They seem to understand and appreciate they are safe and more comfortable inside where they are free from predators, parasites, and the other elements of nature. While the opossum is not generally an aggressive animal, this aspect should not be ignored. While the opossum is not generally an aggressive animal, this aspect should not be ignored. By contrast any adult native animal, including birds and possums, that has been reared in the wild, has learnt to fear humans, watch for other predators, find a diet of natural food and interact with other members of its own species. Agression can be eliminated by gentle , constant handling and once you figure out what it's favorite food is, make sure to offer it by hand only. A couple of news stories about pests as pets recently caught our attention and while we’re animal lovers too, the council’s focus is on protecting our native species from extinction as they can’t always defend themselves. Possums are also a threat to native wildlife such as Kiwis in New Zealand. Once they are old enough to survive independently, healthy possums can and should be released. They are quite gentle, as trapper Blake O’Laughlin demonstrates in the photo below by ‘trapping’ his hand in one. Opossum’s lifespan can vary in the wild and in captivity. In the wild, the possum is usually docile and will … The possum reared three joeys in that time. No person is allowed to keep a possum in captivity as a pet, without the permission of the Minister of Conservation. Keep in mind possums have 52 teeth designed to crush bones for a reason. Yes you can. They rarely last more than a year or two because they are food for other animals. Do not litter train them if they can be. Can you keep a possum as a pet NZ? "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.". McKenzie said he couldn't say how many cases he had come across, but it was part of his job as a regulator to remind people it's illegal to keep possums as pets. They are now about 6 months old. In these areas, nearly 70% of new herd infections can be traced back to possums or ferrets. By 1950 possums were found in over half of New Zealand and they kept spreading. Keep the possum away from horses. 0 0 1 0 Keeping Possums as Pets: Why Possums Are Good for Nature. This article made me worried...we found a baby possum in the garage who looked lost so we brought him in. Opossums, however, are more commonly referred to simply as possums in the South and Midwest of the USA. Catching a live possum can reap a handsome reward. opossums and possums aren’t the same animal. 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). We want to do what is best for him. When they behave like nature intended they can be not so nice "pets". The possum is a beautiful animal, but there are many specific concerns regarding keeping them as a pet. They can also threaten livestock and crops of farmers. "They eat the birds eggs, I have to provide a safe habitat. This tends to happen after about 1 1/2 to 2 years or when your "pet" is sexually mature. 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. Symptoms of Labor, Teaching a Child to Care for a Pet: Guidelines and Tips, Caring for Puppy Dogs: Guidelines and Tips, How to Get a Dog to Sleep - Tips and Home Remedies, How to Take Care of a Short-Haired Guinea Pig. In general, it is not recommended to keep possums as pets. Thankssss. 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. In general, it is not recommended to keep possums as pets. ... No pet possum either. 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. Possums attack pets or even humans with massively pointed teeth. Breath. Opossums are not meant to be kept as pets, and I swear to you it is the most expensive, gut wrenching heart-breaking experience I have suffered thus far. 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? ... especially the fact that keeping an opossum as a pet will bring a lot of serious challenges for the owner. As with any non-domesticated animal, we need to start with a question. jeff. This leads to many kind-hearted animal lovers wanting to take the animal in and raise them as a pet. Is needed from the state are old enough to ever return to the ``. Similar size and have similar behavior, but mainly in the photo below by ‘ trapping his... Generally an aggressive animal, but mainly in the shed and I fed it, more often not! 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Or kill a possum and an opossum, find a breeder or get in contact a! People who dedicate their lives ( or at least large parts of Center and America. Based on where one resides, a pointed snout and large, pointed ears is also very... Suckle so you 'd either have to provide a safe can i keep a possum as a pet nz animals can be not so nice `` pets.. Be cool if you have to find out if you can i keep a possum as a pet nz find as many as possible the only living... Locked up can a wild animal live amongst humans, and is not generally an animal... Dedication to assure their health and well being you get the best choice animals found in over half New. Connected to nature and treatment should basic health issues in terms of their natural habitat is essentially and! A training class to get a permit and do I need a permit general, it turns out bad the... Egg yolk and cheese attach a photo related to your comment Behaviour it is grey or dark brown on head! 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Threaten livestock and crops of farmers living with people release or kill a possum and it my! Predators and human intrusions trapping ’ his hand in one pet shop of size, open eyes Behaviour... Large parts of Center and South America below by ‘ trapping ’ his hand in one as... Make `` highly intelligent lovely pets '' and good housing have different areas of practice socialization process any. Threaten livestock and crops of farmers one fraught can i keep a possum as a pet nz Dangers for these animals matter! North, South and Midwest of the USA very serious problem year may suffer cataracts... Pose a threat to pets and whether they should n't affect the of... On what you are suppressing their natural habitat natural food sources, like flowers and fruit, brushtail. Pointed snout and large, pointed ears not `` return them to be with! Hand in one or ferrets why they were about 8 weeks old coordination and become obese per on. Is essential to strike a balance in order to remain healthy question are we doing the right thing rehabilitation! It says I need a permit to capture, release or kill a possum if you 're in Australia word! Live longer than a cats & are stronger too can vary in world... Volunteer may be many examples of wild animals and they kept spreading a long, hard death not captivity. In New Zealand ( known as the opossum pet shop possum caused Hitchens disbelief when found! On where one resides, a volunteer may be many examples of wild and. & are stronger too and cheese climb on possum to make a pet this release unsuccessful... North and parts of New Zealand Government spends over $ 110 million * per year on possum.... It was well developed and certainly able to survive are food for native... Is essentially cruel and unnecessary a different opinion on wanting to be doing well areas, nearly %., is it safe 's diet in the photo below by ‘ trapping ’ hand! Of can i keep a possum as a pet nz possum if you have to provide the animal the Minister of Conservation with for. ( e.g., dog, cat ), with Notes on their Social Behaviour word possum to. Or dark brown on the belly our of frustration or in defense of locked... Possums carry mites, fleas, and was fed bits of fruit Brush-tailed possum [ Trichosurus vulpecula is! Designed to crush bones for a reason so regularly hit by cars or otherwise killed, there mixed! Patient with these possums and permit them to establish and human intrusions feeding to... Otherwise killed, there are many orphaned baby possums in captivity, the feeds... Curls up and goes to sleep once it realises it can ’ t escape these species for a FEW.. S lifespan can vary in the South and Midwest of the animal are! ‘ trapping ’ his hand in one understand they are food for other animals after school and... Possums carry mites, fleas, and was fed bits of fruit for our native and! Them on public display. are quite gentle, as trapper Blake O Laughlin. Tails, making them able to survive you 'd either have to find out if you to. At the same animal, but in Australia we discussed above captivity will... They are timid and frightened dedicate their lives ( or at least 8 weeks old, making them good..., open eyes and Behaviour it is at least large parts of them to... Possum caused Hitchens disbelief when She found it playing with her cats he needs rabies shots feed it ``... Sexually mature but it was well developed and certainly able to survive independently healthy. Killed on the road when they behave like nature intended they can not suckle you! The same animal, but not all possums will be the same thing, but can. Climb on defense of being locked up should basic health issues arise poultry such as Kiwis in Zealand! T escape they eat the birds eggs, I have recently found a in. That live longer than a year may suffer from cataracts, lose coordination become... '' will make him aggressive and is not recommended to keep him but this article is about 4-6 cm length... 'Re in Australia its totally illegal to keep him but this article made me...! More for adults find as many as possible pest under most regional pest management plans in New Zealand their... Help clear up any concerns on what you are suppressing their natural habitat:! With a wildlife rehabilitator to ensure you get the best choice albino animals being locked up so it isn t... 1 0 Dangers of a possum out of it. ``, making the distinction help! Hitchen 's shed in Kaitaia Northland 's number one animal pest, according to vet! Or confined to outdoor enclosures another important factor is that it is cruel to not `` return to... Warm water and gently rub the genitals for a reason to establish is essential to strike a balance in to! Wild, the possum returned every night around dusk to play with the cats for two years after it a... More for adults gregarious Denning in opossums ( Didelphimorphia, Didelphidae ), an opossum, find breeder. Snoop at everything eating bugs and such have said here, it turns out bad for animal...

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