Can Opossums Be Pets?

Opossums are marsupials that are native to the Americas. In the wild, they are commonly hunted for their meat and fur, but as pets they can make great companions.

This article provides information on the diet and care of opossums.

Can Opossums Be Pets

Opossums are not a pet species. They are an abundant, intelligent and misunderstood creature.

Opossums are not considered pets in the United States or Canada. However, many people in other countries keep opossums as pets. Find out more below!

Can You Legally Own A Pet Short-Tailed Opossum?

In June 2006, if you have three or less females which breed, you do not need a federal USDA license to own a short-tailed opossum.

However, retail pet stores will have to have a license in comparison to be able to sell them.

You also need to talk about the ethical side of owning this animal as a pet. It is all about the quality of life this animal will have when living as a pet, whether it will increase or decrease.

You will be caring for an animal and you need to make sure you are financially stable enough to make sure you can look after them properly and have a good amount of time to give them.

Therefore, it may be legal to own one as a pet, but is it in their best interest?

Their Behavior

When having a pet in your home, it is a great place to start with how they behave and act in a home environment and whether this will suit your home life.

It is better to have them from a young age so they are used to the environment without knowing another one. Settling a grown Opossum into your home can be very difficult.

You should also know that they work better on their own and are much easier to control. When they are with their own sciences they tend to fight with each other and it can even lead to them killing each other in serious situations.

They are nocturnal animals which mean that they sleep during the day and are active during the night. Therefore, they might not be the best pets to keep with children.

Home Life

You also need to think about the housing situation you have and whether it will be suitable for keeping the Opossum safe.

You need to make sure that your house is kept as escape proof as possible.

They will need a nest but they tend to be very clean and tidy animals, choosing a particular spot to do their business.

You will need to be cleaning their cage at least once a week to make sure that nothing builds up and their environment is nice for them.


You are able to feed a wide variety of food to your Opossum but many people have found that a commercial insectivore diet provides the best basic nutrition.

There is also the option of ready made food for cats or ferrets which are also absolutely fine for them as well.

The best diet for your pet is definitely going to be high in protein and low in fat.

For any pets, you will be giving them treats every now and then, but what do you give an Opossum?

You can feed them little fruit and veg snacks and other snacks like mealworms or crickets as well.

There needs to be dry food left out at all times for them to eat, but anything larger like eggs need to be kept for the evening.

Do They Need Exercise?

Can Opossums Be Pets

They do not need excessive exercise but you need to make sure that they have the opportunity to at least be active when they are awake.

They also need to have areas where they can be active climbing and running around when they want.

This is why they can be quite a lot to have as pets because they take a lot of taking care of at different times in the day.

Just like any pets they love playing around in little tunnels and things that will keep their brain stimulated.

They are also very active in the evening because they are nocturnal which means you should place their play areas somewhere away from where you sleep because it could keep you up all night.


Opossums spend a lot of their time grooming themselves when they can. They are quite similar to cats in this sense.

However, if you find that they have gotten themselves into a bit of a mess, you can gently bathe them with pet shampoo.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Do Pet Opossums Live?

Opossums can live up to different ages but they are regularly kept as pets and are usually in the wild.

When they are kept out of their natural habitats, they usually last for 3-4 years, but others have shown to last up to 10 years.


Overall, if you are looking to have an Opossum as a pet you need to make sure you have the time and the energy to look after them properly.

They are not the type of animals you can buy and do nothing with. They require quite a bit of your space and time.

They also need to be fed good food which is with a good routine to keep them nice and healthy.

Hopefully this guide has given you a good amount of information about having an Opossum and how good they can be as pets.

The one reason why many people choose not to have them as pets is because they are nocturnal and if you have children, they will be running around at night doing their own thing.

Always remember that they do not mix well with their own kind and could fight each other and potentially end up killing one another!

They are better as lone pets!

Olivia Kepner