Will possums eat my pond fish

Opossums: what you need to know about welfare

She is neither particularly cute nor particularly pretty. Still, Heidi is a little star. Heidi is an opossum and lives in the Leipzig Zoo. The animal achieved fame for its silver look, that is: it crosses. In addition, the opossum is too fat and needs to be on a diet.

Quirky story. It is one of the reasons why the media has been pouncing on the opossum since December 2010. Thanks to Heidi, many people are now familiar with the animal species opossum. However, it has not yet established itself as a popular and loved pet. If you want to keep an opossum at home, you will in most cases opt for a short-tailed opossum. Heidi is one of the Virginia opossums.

Would you like to keep an opossum as a pet? We will inform you about the animal.

The possum

Opossums belong to the genus of the opossum. Usually these animals live in large forests in North and South America. For example, they are native to countries like Brazil, Paraguay or Bolivia. Due to breeding, they are now also at home in Australia or New Zealand. Opossums are very popular with the locals because they eat unpleasant insects. In nature, an opossum lives as a loner. The animals only come together to mate.

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A short-tailed opossum grows to about six inches long and weighs between 100 and 150 grams, while other species can grow to be up to 50 inches long and weigh 5.5 kilograms. The fur of the animals can be brown, black, white, spotted or mottled. It's thick and scruffy. The opossum's hairless tail serves as a prehensile tail for climbing. The life expectancy of the animals is four to five years.

Short-tailed possums are very nimble and agile. As a pet, they quickly become tame and trusting. Their hearing is very sensitive - in contrast to the sense of smell and sight, which are not well developed. The animals are also no longer active.

Information about keeping possums

The terrarium

The terrarium should have a minimum size of 100 x 80 x 50 (HxWxD) centimeters for short-tailed possums. The floor is usually covered with rodent litter or small animal peat, which is available at any pet store. If you want, you can do something good for your animal and also distribute leaves in the terrarium. Because opossums love to dig.

In addition, there should be sufficient play and climbing opportunities in the terrarium. Thick branches, swings or ropes are suitable for this. Opossums also like hiding places very much. A small wooden house or pipes, for example, are very good options.

You should make sure that possums are kept in an ambient temperature that is not too hot, but also not too cool. A temperature between 22 and 26 degrees Celsius is ideal during the day. At night it shouldn't get colder than 18 degrees Celsius. You should definitely remember to clean the terrarium regularly. Opossums are very sensitive when it comes to hygiene.

Feeding the opossum

Possums are omnivores. They especially like to eat live insects and mice, as well as worms and snails. They also like overripe fruit, such as apples, pears, mangoes or bananas, or fruit yogurt. But they also eat grains and eggs. There should always be fresh water in the cage.

Anyone keeping an opossum should be careful not to overfeed it. The animals tend to be overweight.

Did you already know?

If they feel threatened, then opossums simply play dead. They can regulate their breathing and heartbeat for up to six hours. They also secrete a foul-smelling liquid to deceive attackers.

In English there is even the phrase 'to play possum'. This means nothing more than 'play dead'.

Conclusion: Opossum is not yet an established pet

Have you heard of Heidi, the cross-eyed opossum? Since then have you been very fond of the animal and would like to get one yourself? Then just dare to do it! If you have enough space for the animal, have no problem feeding the opossum with live food and do not need an animal to go for a walk with, then these are the best conditions.

But you should keep in mind that the animal can be beastly at times. A cuddly toy looks different. Even if an opossum can become trusting and tame and sometimes does not grow any bigger than a golden hamster, it is by no means easy to care for.


Very important: Whichever pet you choose, you should always be aware that you are bringing a living creature home to look after. You have to take care of it and ideally also have enough time to deal with it sufficiently. If you do not meet these requirements, then you are doing the animal and yourself a disservice! _____________________________________________________________________________

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