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I have a possum

Posted by Michelle_8 Carrollton TX 8 (My Page) on
Thu, Dec 11, 03 at 9:50

Lat night I pulled up to the house at 5:40 and it was just getting dark. My headlights caught a very fat grey and white possum (Opossum) waddeling away from my bird feeder. It must be this possum that is cleaning up any left overs from the ground and the parts of the corn kernal that the squirrels leave behind. I'm relieved it's a possum and not a skunk. Some of you may remember my skunk experience this past summer - sprayed under the house and the whole house smelled...and I had tons of family coming to stay. I put some peanuts out and watched to see if he would come back, but he never did and the peanuts were still there this morning. I don't mind haveing possums around, but those skunks are another story.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: I have a possum

The possum will probably make a return visit. I have possums but they do not visit every night. Mine do like peanuts. They also like bananas.

Richard


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RE: I have a possum

I live in South Florida, zone 10. Three days ago I saw a possum climbing up a table where I have seeds and peanuts for Blue Jays, I was a couple of feet away from him making noises to shoo him away, but he ignored me until I banged on the table; this happened around 7 in the morning. I only found a brief information in my books. Would they attack humans or birds? Are they good or bad to have in the garden? I would like to hear some information about their behavior and food preferences. Thanks


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RE: I have a possum

  • Posted by John_D USDA 8b WA (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 12, 03 at 22:00

They eat rats and slugs.


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RE: I have a possum

They have a tendency to panic if they have no clear escape route and can cause a lot of real damage to dogs and people. However they are pushy too. I lost my temper at one once and grabbed it by the tail and slung it across the yard into a snowbank. 10 years later my DH still laughs about the opossum peeking out of the drift to see if I was still there.-Sandy


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RE: I have a possum

Richard - yep, they do like bananas. I always put my over ripe ones under the porch and they are always gone the next day. I've had possums living under my house/porch as long as I've lived in this house.

Barbet139 - I doubt they would attack a human or pet, unless of course very threatened or cornered. I've seen a mom with babies play dead on my front lawn at around 7AM when confronted by my small dog. Same dog had a baby one cornered once and growled at it and the possum just waddled off. They will eat things you wouldn't want in your house like roaches and mice and they are disease resistant. They are solitary animals, so just because have one doesn't mean there is a "nest" of them. I have found no reason to discourage them and don't mind having them at all.

Sleepless - That is so funny! I've heard that if you pick them up by their tail they will play dead. At work earlier this year we had one in the mailroom and that's exactly what someone did - picked it up by it's tail and put it outside.


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RE: I have a possum

  • Posted by moo_ EastTX (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 19, 03 at 19:17

Opossum are North America's only marsupials. They love dog food and are omnivorous. They do carry diseases as all wildlife does and shouldn't be around horses. Be careful and don't attempt to bother them. Their teeth are huge and extremely sharp. I happen to think they are beautiful and fascinating to watch. As far as feeding them, they eat most anything and fruits and vegetables are good food along with dry dog food.
Moo


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RE: I have a possum

  • Posted by htown z8/9 TX (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 19, 03 at 20:03

i have a big mulberry tree. i have only seen one that was bigger, but it was enormous. whenever the berries begin to get ripe i have tons of animal traffic!!! raccoons, opposums, squirells, birds. at night the raccoons make a lot of noise on the roof and sometimes wake us up in the house. the tree is beside the house and branches spread out over the roof of the house; the critters get the berries that fall on the roof. the berries also have a down side which is that they litter the ground and if you forget to take off your shoes, when going inside after you've been walkin' underneath it, you track it purplish red stuff that is a pain to scrubb out of the carpet. good thing the tree is on the far side of the house were foot traffic is low. raccoon sightings quadruple when the berries are ripening. and they leave mulberry terds all around too.


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RE: I have a possum

Possums kill birds, and destroy birds' eggs.
Don't ever corner an apossum; they will attack quite viciously to defend themselves.


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RE: I have a possum

Used to have lots of possums around my farm. They were generally shy of people, and unless cornered or trapped (we were relocating raccoons in a live trap and caught everything from the neighbor's cat to possums), typically avoid confrontation (in my experience).

I, too, find them fascinating and harmless to humans.


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RE: I have a possum

Michelle..you should post this message over on the pond forum. The lunatics over there will illuminate the dozens of ways to eliminate "nuisance" wildlife. Sorry guys..just had to vent...


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RE: I have a possum

Of any of the dozens of possum enconters I have had, only about five of those involved any aggression on the possum's part, and that was limited to the usual drooling, growling and gaping routine. Quite often I did the tail-grasp-and-carry thing myself to relocate an animal from the front porch, but you should not make the mistake of assuming the 'playing possum' thing works with every individual. They can and will stand their ground and I can tell you exactly what a possum bite feels like from first hand experience. My dog raised the alarm one night and I slipped on my boots and went out to see what was causing the commotion. He and a possum were engaged in a Mexican standoff in front of the doghouse, and I am still not sure why that one decided to get so close to a sleeping old dog. I walked up, shushed my dog and took him by the collar to lead him away. The possum had been standing there gaping and growling but not moving and as I turned to go he suddenly made a quick dash forward and latched onto my boot.
It really bugged me at the time because those were brand new boots, too and now there were neat little holes in the top, not to mention neat little holes in me.
My husband did not believe me when I walked in and told him I had just gotten nailed by a possum. Then I pulled of the boot and saw all the blood. Of course a good round of peroxide followed, and even though it was a fairly deep wound there was never any sign of infection whatsoever, which was surprising. I was certainly expecting a different story. I do have a weird little scar on top of my right foot though, and the possum story is a great ice breaker at parties.
It was my own fault, though, and NOT the possum's. Never underestimate an animal's ability to defend itself, even ones that have a reputation of being docile.


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We have a couple of 'resident' possums and I look forward to seeing them several times each week! They eat whatever we happen to have, from fruit to spaghetti to meat and bones! They really are sweet animals, tho I am not so sure I would feel that way if I had had dirtgirl's experience!

Please don't think that all pond people are 'lunatics', we truly are not. Folks just become incensed at an animal dining on their favorite fish, they didn't think to design the pond to be critter proof and when they are invaded they grieve for the loss of their finned ones. I choose to deal with it by feeding the animals, and so far it has worked, they pretty much let the ponds alone.


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RE: I have a possum

I have read that opossums, because of their scavenging habits, have evolved very strong immune systems. Cases of rabies are very rare. I've never approached a 'possum but they are very common evening visitors and they have never seemed to be anything other than docile. One might be surprised how frequent visitors they may be. If you have one nearby it is probably bumbling about your backyard every night. They do it very quietly.


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RE: I have a possum

  • Posted by John_D USDA 8b WA (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 22, 03 at 22:59

PLEASE! Don't tell my sweet little possums that they have a mean streak! It'll just confuse them!


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Haven't seen my possum since that one time, but every morning the scraps under the bird feeder and around the squirrel feeder are all cleaned up. So, I assume he's coming back. I hope so! I just love those little guys. Thanks for all the facinating stories everyone!


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i stumbled across your site and the subject of opossum caught my eye. being my favorite subject i couldnt pass up the chance to get in on this conversation. i am a wildlife rehabber in alabama dealing with "high risk" mammals; with the exclusion of the virginia opossum (not high risk); my specialty. i hope to leave you with a better understanding of this special creature. as mentioned, this is north americas only marsupial and is in no way related to the rodent; 1 of approx. 65 species of possums in australia, new zealand, etc and date back to the age of dinosaurs. being a gardening forum, i understand the concerns of wildlife/strays destroy lawn and gardens. i want to assure you that the opossum is not only a non-threatening creature, but most beneficial. without the opossum, we would be overrun by bugs, rodents, disease caused by many creatures that litter our roads. these little wonders have earned the name of "little sanitation workers". unlike skunk, raccoon, etc- they don't dig up your yard and garden. they dont raid your veggies like the cottontails. actually they prefer the rotten fruits/veggies that drop to the ground drawing the harmful insects you work hard to prevent. they eat and are immune to black widow, brown recluses, rattlesnakes, etc. they are non-aggressive; the nasty display you witness is mostly bluff and their only line of defense (along w/ playing possum). this is not to say that if you approached one and stuck your hand in his face that he wouldn't bite; he probably would, but i'm guessing you would too. these animals are not destructive to property, pets, etc. THEY HAVE FAR LESS disease than other wildlife (including birds), and or stray unvaccinated cats/dogs (both of which cause more injuries/illness).they do not contract distemper, parvo,and rabies is EXTREMELY rare. dispite popular belief; they are very clean, are not stupid (i myself have found them smarter than dogs in many areas). they are not social animals (like raccoons and squirrels- that drag the whole family along), actually they are solitary. after the young are grown and separate from the mother around 3 mths,they usually breed twice a year around feb/march again around july/aug and give birth after a 13 day gestation period. they spend the remainder of their short lives along; with the exception of breeding/raising young. their average life span is 1-1.5 yrs. a possum over 1 yr is extremely lucky. they are opportunistic eaters- will eat everything from veg/fruit/ carion/ insects and pet food that has been left out. as many of us are animal lovers we try to help them out by offering meals when possible. please know that a diet of cat/dog food is ok is SMALL quantities but is very unhealthy in large doses. for 1; it makes them fat. a fat opossum is a dead opossum. they need a nutritious variety of fruits/veg and far less meat than you might think. if you are having problems w/ possums hanging around, first consider if you are providing a nice snuggly bed for him or free meals. they generally dont stay in one place more than several days so if you remove these things, they will move on. possums love good, free food, and a snuggly place to sleep. if its dark and tight fitting it's perfect for possum. possum raise their young in a pouch (female) and can have up to 13 (avg 3-8 in my home). for this reason females hit by cars, etc can have living babies in her pouch. my house is full of survivors. please take the time to find help; they are worth it. any baby found alone under 7-10" w/o tail is too young to take care of itself. they are good climbers due to their prehensile tail and the opossable thumb on the back feet. contrary to popular belief- they DO NOT hang by their tails; an adult is too heavy to suport the weight. they however do use their tail as an additional hand for extra support. yes they can have an almost black coat, but that is the exception to the gray/white coloring.
i would look more at rats for climbing feeder poles. raccoons are also mischieveous enough to raid the feeders and their nimble hands make them little bandits. possums arent going to go to that much effort and will go for the easy food on the ground. a possum desperate enough to climb a pole for birdseed is probably too sick to get up there to begin with. as for cat owners that are proud of their cats for hunting the wildlife- cats kill more wildlife every year that i could possibly count. please be aware that anything (animal) caught by a cat must have antibiotics due to the harmful bacteria in its mouth. animals such as birds and cottontails, dont even have to have a bite on them- without treatment they will die. fine for mouse control, but i wouldnt be proud past that. a bell on the collar could save many a life, and reduce my calls greatly. i agree about the relocation of wildlife stated earlier- if it's not necessary- it shouldnt be done. many animals are territorial and wont survive being dumped into another area. as for the person with the chewed up wooden squirrel feeder- blame the squirrels; they are rodents and i've rehabbed them and well as watching the greedy guys in the yard, do exactly what you described. if they cant figure out how to open it- they chew it open; and if you dont keep up with the seed demand- alabama squirrels can be down right nasty if you dont keep the feeders full. i would also like to say i appreciate the ones that welcome the skunks, raccoon, and the wonderful possums to their yards. (the 3 being my largest call volume). you have a gift, enjoy them. thank you. possumsfirst in alabama


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This morning we woke up to 2 dead geese, just over 2 months old, and 1 little duck, about 3 months old. We had them penned up in our dog kennal, with a wire mesh top and concrete floor. We have had them outside for about 1 month and they were doing wonderful. My boys would let them out during the day and then put them in the pen at night. About 1 week ago, my 18 year old son came in and said he saw a "big rat". We have lived here 5 years and haven't had much interaction with opposums, so our first thought wasn't of opposums. A couple of days later my husband opened our hot tub door and found quite a large supply of poop. It looked like rather large rat poop. Still we were not quite getting it. But this morning we were upset about the little ones and we first blamed it on a racoon, but then we remembered about the "big rat". Are we on the right track......we did check out the kennal and there is absolutley no way anything could have gotten to them except over the top and squeezed through an opening about 7"x10". This is our first experience with geese and ducks.....we thought we had predatory animals covered but maybe we were wrong....thanks for any input.


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Wow, I have never heard or read of a possom doing something like this...if your son saw this "big rat" during the day, then maybe it wasn't a possom...since they only come out at dark. I would first think racoon, but I'm no expert on either. Sorry for your loss.


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I used to have "REALLY big rats" that come from the creek at the golf corse, They scare the daylights out of me!
Some of them are the size of small cats!
And they are TRULY rats,
We have redone all of our cross timber retainer walls at the edge of our property that (sort of backs up pretty close to the creek), with concrete faced out with brick, when we were taking it all apart, we had babies living in there. DH and the workers were killing them and one of them escaped, it climbed the tree, then dropped down into the pool, then my dogs went in after it, it SWAM UNDER WATER VERY DEEP, AND FOR A VERY LONG TIME, THEN FOUND ITS WAY INTO ONE OF THE POOL PIPES at the edge of the pool,
I couldent believe my eyes.. It was underwater so very long.
Those things are downright scary!
Anyway my dog managed to get to it and kill it.
But maybe what your son saw truly was a "really big rat."

I have a opossum that visits my yard, it is non conforntational, and has never harmed any of my wildlife, I have doves that sleep in my trees, and birds nesting in my yard.
I cant imagine a opossum killing the geese, I hand raised a little abandoned baby about five years ago, and they seem to prefer mostly bugs, and vegtables.
We lived at the lake, and he never went for our baby ducks.
EG


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Thanks for the responses.....at first my husband thought it might be coons..but like I said, we had remembered about what my son had said. I have never even seen a rat out here, but I am sure they are around. I thought that beings they were penned up they would be quite safe, but maybe if they could have been loose maybe one or two would have had a chance. But we will give it another shot and we will still use the kennal, but not until we figure this out. My boys were upset. They are 22, 18, and 15 yrs old!!!! So we will do our best to figure this out and get a couple more little ones. I have really enjoyed this forum. I have learned a few new things, so I suppose I will stick around for a bit, THANKS!


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possumrehabber, thank you for posting and clearing up some of the misconceptions that people have about opossums. I also rehab possums. The animal shelter sends them to me almost every week. I live far out in the country, and since possums are basically nomads, they are usually (like you say) on the go. I do have some good places for them to hang around, and some stay here all the time, because I leave food out for them. I have really come to love and appreciate them. I hear many stories of people mistreating them, and one of my possums, Baxter, is here forever because he has brain damage, due to being hit in the head by some big brave man. I guess I love animals but definitely lack a sense of humor because I find nothing funny about throwing any animal anywhere...even into a snow bank.

As for the watergardeners disliking wildlife...not all of them do. I raise aquatics and I have as many as any commercial nursery you can find. I have raccoons here every night...the most I have seen was 60 at a time. Have never lost a fish or a plant to a raccoon. Why...because I feed them. Before someone chastises me for that...if I didn't feed them, I wouldn't be able to raise fish and waterlilies. The rehabber's ass'n. here gets food donated by Walmart, Petsmart, and Target and they furnish the dog and cat food. I buy bananas and other fruit for them.

Like possumrehabber said...possums can't eat a diet of strictly cat food, so the captive ones eat a mix of chopped vegetables, cat food that has been soaked and the whole thing stirred with yogurt...blackberry is the favorite here. :) They get a little fruit and I also give them snails, meal worms, crickets, June bugs...and their real favorite food...roaches. I am outside every night with a fly swatter and a flashlight trying to kill some of those big roaches that people here call "tree roaches." I have a hard time finding roaches...and I live in a hot and humid climate!

Here is a little black possum that I raised this year. Her name is Shirley. She posed for me by a little waterlily. She has been released but she comes home almost every night for a little bit of banana and some grapes.


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I really LOVE this thread.
I have always loved, opossums, racoons, skunks, squirrles and all those other little furry critters.
The one I found must have had its mother killed or something.
I took it to a wildlife vet, fed it nutri-cal, fruits, veggies and mealworms and then let it go free at the lake.
It came to visit now and again, and was fat and happy.
I was glad to know it had done just fine.

I guess I had liked them before ever meeting one because my mother had a story she used to tell us about opossums, and how she and her sisters used to have them when she was growing up.
(sorry I did not know how to resize)
They truly are sweet and loving animals.
EG

Here is a link that might be useful: my mom holding her pet opossums


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a much smaller picture !

Ok, take a look if you want, I did get it resized.
EG

Here is a link that might be useful: my mom with her two opossums - sweet hugh?


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  • Posted by John_D USDA 8b WA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 11, 04 at 22:31

Very sweet!


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That picture was probably taken in the 40's, maybe early 50's.
I grew up with a mother who loved wildlife.
Growing up she worked at a hospital, she worked 11-7 shift, and was always finding animals that had gotten into the headlights of cars on the "old road" she would take my brothers and their tracking bloodhounds and find the babies nests, and either dig them out, or whatever she had to do to resuce them.
While I was a child we had rescued, baby squirrels, skunks,
racoons, opossums, and I cant even list all the birds and ducks.
Once we had a mocking bird that we hand fed from a baby that would make sounds that sounded almost identical to us, it would mimic the following (we had cats)
here kee kee, here kee kee (here kitty kitty)
then when the cat would come to investigate, it would dive bomb it, snag some cat hair, and say what sounded like "scat, scat"
Saving wildlife can be so rewarding and full of memories and stories, I am glad my mother nourished in us a live and let live attitude, I owe my love of gardening and wildlife to her alone.
I hope to someday pass it on to my children.
EG


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Eclectic Gardener, thanks for sharing that picture of your mother and her pet possums! She was truly a special lady!

One of the many things I collect are old photographs of raccoons. I don't have very many...I usually find them on ebay, but there are other raccoon lovers out there, so I don't get them all. One of them that I especially love shows a little girl and three raccoons eating from a pan. It is dated 1920 and on the back it says "Lucy and her coons." How nice to see an old photo of someone with possums...especially since all the others I have seen show either a possum treed or being held upside down by it's tail.

Caring for orphaned and injured wildlife is indeed very rewarding. I would have never thought I would become so fond of possums. It isn't like I disliked them or anything...I just didn't give them much thought. It is hard not to love raccoon babies...they are more like puppies, so playful and follow you around, but little possums are very special. I probably raise mine "closer" to me than many people. When I am working around the place, I often have a baby possum sleeping in my tucked in shirt, and later on riding on my shoulder. And no, if anyone wants to know...they do not "potty" on their mother!
When I have a lone baby, such as when I raised Shirley, I kept her with me almost all of the time. She slept inside the sleeve of my nightgown. I am a very light sleeper, so I didn't worry about rolling over on her. Went out to eat with my daughter one night, and just put her inside a purse and took her in. Bet she is the only possum to ever go to Katz's Deli. They are very sweet, clean little things. They have no bad odor. Precious little things! :)


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Yes, these are the ones I remember growing up.
Bandit, our raccoon, I found him in a cage on a neighbor ladies porch and traded her my 10 speed bike for him, so that I could get to tame him and keep him as a pet she was going to send it to the pound but it had been sitting there for three days, the pound never was coming, she was not feeding or watering it because she was afraid of it.
Many months later, (since it went everywhere with me)
I took it with me to a friends hotel to hang out by the pool, and by chance (remember WKRP in Cincinnnati) they were at the hotel.
I met the cast and they wanted to buy the raccoon as a mascot for their show. All of their autographs say to me, and my raccoon. (of course MY coon was NOT for sale)

Ringo, (coon) one of the ones my mom brought home from the "old road" it had been hit by a car, and we made it all better.
My mom was a nurse and she used to say "If it can bleed, it can be bandaged, and more often than not fixed right up, and you will never know until you try, so what are we waiting for go get the...."
I still marvel at how they hide shiny stuff.
Me and my sister got in a big fight over a ring of mine that she "really liked" that came up missing. Years later when repotting one of my moms plants it showed up.
Ringo died of old age.
Skunks, PK, because it came from Possum Kingdom Lake, and
TABOO, need I say why? he was a baby found on the "old road" too.
They were my favorite pets, and we DID keep them in the house, and I loved them all.

There will forever be a place in my heart and yard for all the wild critters I knew as a child, and many more I hope to encounter as an adult!
Coons, Opossums, and Skunks are no exception!
EG


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one more thing

BTW how many stars did your opossum rate Katz's Deli?
That was very cute, and sounds like something I would have done, and I did "cuddle" my opossum too.
I think it is totally normal!
They are very lovable, and even if you dont "intend" to fall in love with a baby one, it just happens.

EG


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EC:
Your Mom sounds like a truly GREAT person! I wish there were more people like her.


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Unfortunately my mom passed in 1993, the year my daughter was born. I was sad that she never got to know her grandmother, her love of gardening, and of nature.
She was never a cook, but she had many other wonderful things to offer. I guess I will have to share the stories.

Anyone see BIG FISH, I hope we all have some of those stories about nature to pass along.
EG


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Possumrehabber, thanks for all the great info.

One of my father's tricks was to pick up a possum scrounging dropped seed from our suburban bird feeder and carry it inside to scare my mother. Worked every time. He'd come up casually, while she was reading or watching TV, and then ask her a question and stick the poor possum in her face when she looked up.

I love 'em. I've rescued several over the years when they got confused/trapped in parking garages and construction sites. Impresses people no end when you just pick up the scary monster and carry it away to safety (same with snapping turtles...)

A couple of years ago, all hell broke out in our backyard one late winter night. Our dogs (2 Jack Russell Terriers) were in full holler making complete idiots out of themselves. The poor possum had climbed up a spindly pine tree to get away from them, climbed all the way to the top, and then had to hang on when the tip of the tree bent over from his weight. It looked like Charlie Brown's Christmas tree with the single ornament :o) (Except for the dogs leaping up and falling over backwards trying to get to him.)

I shut the dogs in and checked a few hours later, and he was gone.

Here outside of Boston, we're at the northern edge of their range. Most of the possums that make it into the winter suffer frostbite on their naked tails, which weren't designed for Northern winters.

Regards/Susan


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We have Possums around here as they like to dig for grubs, slugs and earthworms in the heavily oak leafed mulch that covers most of my garden beds. They never seem to bother anything, unlike the racoons that get into everything.


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I, too, have the occasional possum showing up at the garden gate to scarf up any cat chow my kitties have left behind.

Some years ago my DH brought home a wounded possum whose paw was smashed along the road. He fed it apple slices, banana, raw spinach, cat chow, gave it some leftover antibiotic from the cats and some PetTinic cat liqid vitamin. Kept it in one of our bathrooms and the little sucker would hide behind the toilet whenever you entered the room.

He healed and thrived. We kept him for about 2 months, and we called him Del (no particular reason, just liked the name). Then we released him in our garden and he stayed around in the neighborhood for another one or two years (we could recognize him because he had a slight limp).

I have always presumed the possies that come around now are descendants of Del's.


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What a sweet story. I recently found a tiny babay foating in the pool on a pool float. It must have fallen out while the mom possum was walking along the top of the fence? I never touched it, but scooped it up in the pool net and let it go under my deck. I hope it survived. The next day I was second guessing myself and thinking maybe I should have kept it until it got bigger?


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I had a small young possum here for awhile visiting everynight after Thanksgiving because I was putting Turkey bones out at night for it to eat. I only cook one Turkey a year so Turkey bones did not last long. But I felt bad and put out some dry dog food tonight for the animals because it is Christmas. I haven't seen the possum since the Turkey bones were gone, so maybe it was passing thru and moved on.


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in some of the post way up on top some people say possums are mean, thats not true. they just look ferocious because of those teeth. and any animal cornered will try and defend itself. mean is a tasmanian devil or even a badger can be quite fiesty. i felt bad when someone posted they picked a possum up by the tail and threw it? thats animal cruelty. what if he got hurt? animals dont show their injuries, his tail could have been broken from that. possums are very helpful to us they eat the things we dont want around (roaches, mice etc). they rarely if ever contract rabies because they have a lower body tempature. true im not about to go and pet one on the head but i think they deserve more credit than they get. i feed my possum friend everynight, he trails behind a doe. not sure why maybe he knows she will take him to food. i watch motionless from a distance, the doe eats then the possum comes wabbeling behind her he takes his apple rolls it down the drive way and eats in private. its funny to watch, he looks drunk. both the deer and possum never see me, i would make a good hunter lol


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Lucky you!!

I used to have a huge slug problem (the six-inch long brown ones... ugh...) until a mama possum moved in. Man, she cleaned up my yard - I could hear her chewing at night. I started feeding her to make sure she stayed and I had her for many years. She loved peanuts. Once I accidentally dropped a glass jar of those salty spiced nuts and she really loved those!! So try to keep the little critter - stay out of each other's way and throw out a few treats now and then. It may be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Koona
who still misses Mama Possum but had to leave her behind when she moved


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Lots of possums around here, see them at night.


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RE: I have a possum

I need help - we just put up a new bird feeder. The one we replaced was 12 years old. We never had a problem with possums until we put this new one up. The possum climbs the 4 x 4 pole and then empties all of the seed (15#) onto the ground by scraping along the edges of the center until he empties the container. W put a locking clasp on the top of the feeder. We currently have a squirrel baffle on the pole since we did have problems with squirrels with our laST feeder. What do we do now? This is so frstrating!!


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RE: I have a possum

Get a better baffle and make sure there is no seed in the feeder at night. If there is seed left over at 7pm, you are putting out too much seed.

Possums are nomadic, but you are leaving your feeder vulnerable to other possums and raccoons.


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RE: I have a possum

I HATE POSSUMS. I THREW A GLASS BOTTLE AT ONE THE OTHER DAY AND LUCKY FOR IT I MISSED. I CAN'T EVEN GO IN MY APARTMENT FOR THAT SAME POSSUM PRANCING AROUND THE NEIGHBORHOOD LIKE IT OWNS OR CONTRIBUTES SOMETHING TO ANYTHING OTHER THAN ITS WEIRD LOOKING LAZY SELF. I WISH I WOULD HAVE HIT IT SO IT WOULD STAY THE HELL AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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RE: I have a possum

  • Posted by loomis Z5 Western MA (My Page) on
    Thu, May 10, 07 at 21:44

Ten years ago I had a mother cat and her three kittens in my back yard. In my efforts to entice them inside, I left the porch door open at night, and they would come inside to partake of the large bowl of cat food I left for them. Imagine my surprise one evening when I looked out on the porch to find Mama cat, her three kittens, AND an opossum all eating together at the bowl! The cats weren't the least bit bothered, and neither was the possum.


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RE: I have a possum

I've been feeding 2 possums for nearly three years and they eat their supper right on the front stoop. In winter I set their food & water dishes inside a Rubbermaid container turned on its side, so they can get out of the wind a bit. They always drink quite a bit of water, and their favorite foods are apples & strawberries (the mushier the better), canned corn, sunflower seeds and peanuts. The cats are fascinated by them, and sit in the front porch windows and watch while they eat. Every night about 15 minutes before dark the dog and I go out for her last "break", and when we come back the cats file onto the porch and take their seats for the nightly show. The looks of anticipation on their faces is just hilarious.


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RE: I have a possum

Loomis, I have pet opossum and two cats in my house. They all get along fine.

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RE: I have a possum

Aleksandras, I loved seeing the picture of your pet possum.
It is totally adorable!


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RE: I have a possum

Thanks!
Here are some more

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Last one - she using her tail to carry the piece of paper towel to her bed :)


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RE: I have a possum

People have no idea how sweet possums are, do they? I loved seeing the pictures of yours.

When I turn loose the possums here, I usually will keep a ramp up to their cage because they will often come back and sleep in their nest box for awhile. You will see them out in the yard, gathering up leaves and bits of paper, carrying it back to the boxes with their tails. It is so cute! For some reasons, they love plastic. The plastic liners from the yogurt quart cups is a big favorite, and they will take that back to their boxes too.

I posted a picture of Shirley, the little black possum that I raised a few years ago on the Pictures of Wildlife thread.
She slept with me and went everywhere I went. I hated letting her go, but she left. She came back for a long time.

This is a pic of me and her, the first time she came back.

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RE: I have a possum

Yes, they are sweet and harmless, even wild ones.
Also, I feed her Mazuri Omnivore Zoo Feed, so if anyone wants to feed wild opossums on the yard, this would be a better choice than cat or dog food. I have to order mine because they do not carry it in stores on regular bases.


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RE: I have two babys

good morning!
was so glad to find this website. i have a rescue farm, and it seems animals come to me out of the blue. i have two baby possums that i found in my back yard. well actually one came up on my deck. the other one, of my dogs had it on the ground, it was almost dead, thank god i saved it. i have a hugeeee cage we built for them, i made a pouch that hangs in the cage, they love it! one of them is much bigger than the other. I named them Sadie and Katie. I love that people love animals like i do, even if their out of the average for having pets, lol. i wanted to ask aleksandras what other kinds of things can i give them to eat? mine are picky! they have only like the wet cat food. I am also wondering do you take yours out during the day? mine are in their pouch asleep as you know their night time animals. i look in and see all feet up in the air LOL. lounged around. thanks for letting me share!
Mary and the Zoo


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RE: I have a possum

Mary, the diet that Aleksandras mentioned is good. You can get a Purina store to order it for you. Canned catfood is a very bad diet for them and may lead to some nutritional problems that may be permanent. If you can't get the Mazuri food, you can mix dry cat food with a little fruit flavored yogurt. Chop a variety of vegetables in a food processor and freeze in an ice tray, and add a cube of the vegetables with the moistened dry cat food and stir in some yogurt. Do not feed too much fruit, altho some fruit is good. Any time you can find grasshoppers, snails, big tree roaches, pill bugs, meal worms, or any kind of big crunchy insect that you know hasn't been poisoned, feed them that too. I keep a meal worm culture going...just some wheat bran, a few slices of potato and some meal worms that I added, and feed meal worms too.

The thing is...they need a very varied diet. Eggs are also good. Soft scrambled or raw. I also feed mine chicken necks. I boil them and remove the skins when feeding them to the babies. You need to feed them very good because if you don't, they may start chewing on each other or end up deformed.

Just think nutritional foods...bits of cheese, boney pieces of chicken...like the ends of wings...the part with the two bones and the wing tip...avacado, a little banana, a few grapes and I'm sure I could think of more if I didn't have to go run an errand now. Boney fish like salmon or sardines once in awhile.
a few nuts,


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RE: I have a possum

thanks for the info and the diet. i will try some hard boiled eggs? and scrambled to. the bugs? should they be dead or alive? LOL. they come out at night so should i save them? ick...i was raised on a big farm i remember then one of my friends had found a baby, but i couldnt remember what she fed him i do know he grew so big! i remember us putting him in the bathtub giving him a bath. lol.


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RE: I have a possum

Try scrambled eggs or raw eggs. They like them better than boiled. Give them some fruit flavored yogurt...they like that. Some boney pieces of chicken. Variety is the main thing. Bugs, preferably alive. Earthworms. Give them as much variety as you possibly can. Look for info on internet. Just remember canned cat food is not a good diet for them.


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RE: I have a possum

ok got ya, i gave them a raw egg this evening, and going to get some yogurt for the little babies tomorrow. and will get some wormies and bugs, lol. ill try and get a picture of them for everyone soon, and no i havent been given them canned food..


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RE: I have a possum

I don't give anything else to her because opossums are just like people - they like to eat everything that's bad for them. Often, they get overweight and sick because of it. Cat food only is very bad for them, and it can lead to Metabolic Bone Disease http://www.opossumsocietyus.org/metabolic_bone_disease.htm
I have many pets so I can't cook for each one - this why I'm using Mazuri. Occasionally, I give her a treat - some cottage cheese (homemade), fruits or one bite of cookie. Don't worry about them being picky. They would never starve themselves! You could use a mixer to mix everything together. If you have time to fix food for them, you can use those recipes:
http://hawthornglen.tripod.com/museum/acbook/opossum/opossum.htm
http://www.awrc.org/BabyOpossums.htm
If you want to buy Mazuri feed, you can locate dealers near you on this page: https://www.mazuri.com/Home.asp?Products=2&Opening=4
My opossum doesn't stay in the cage, but she did when she was very small because it was safe for her. Now she sleeps in the cabinet under the fish tank where I have a box filled with old socks for her. She gets up in night and she roams free around the house, also I have the big dog kennel outside, covered with mesh on the top. My cats and opossum can go there anytime when they want. It's connected with the house through the pipe.
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RE: I have a possum

If Mazuri link don't work, go to their front page http://www.mazuri.com/ and click on "Dealer Locator"


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RE: I have a possum

thanks for the links, they were very interesting.
id love to let them loose all the time in the house, although as i said i have a rescue farm which consist of 5 dogs that stay in the house. so that wouldnt be good, im going to let them out when they get a bit older though to play when the dogs are outside. what about day light hours? does yours sleep all day? i was wondering if i should wake them up during the day to play in the house. i found a place for the mazuri pretty close to my house i will go there and get the diet for them also.

thanks


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RE: I have a possum

Yes, they are going sleep all day. You can wake them up, but they wouldn't be very playful anyway. They will go back to bed as soon as they can. They get up after dark, young ones get up earlier and they are more active. As they get older, they will sleep longer, specially in fall/winter. My opossum sometimes sleeps to 1 or 2 AM in cold time of year! Now she is more alert so she gets up in 9/10 PM.


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RE: I have a possum

What is her name, Aleksandras? How old is she?

I can't resist naming most of mine, altho a lot of the possums that are here are because they have injuries. People get traps from animal control and trap them...because they are eating their cat food...and then they are left in the traps for days with no food or water. Many of them have rubbed their noses to the bone, or chewed on the bars of the traps until they have eroded their jaws away to the bone. It takes about 4 months for their jaws to heal enough that I can let them go.


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RE: I have a possum

She has a russian name so american people can't even pronounce it right ;) I'm not even sure how to spell it in english.. Well, I'll try it - "Opos'ka" is close enogh, it has soft "s", common in russian, but not used in english language.
This is so sad that people trap opossums that way. They are most harmless animals that I know. Why anybody wants to leave food outside and then expect that only cats will eat it?


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RE: I have a possum

Because they are idiots.

One of the rehabbers sent me a possum that had been kept as a pet, but the woman who had it (was from Romania) was moving back, and she couldn't take it. She tried...but there was no way. So she turned her over to a rehabber, who gave her to me.

I have found that wild animals that have been kept as pets are often quite docile around people that they know, but are not so tame around strangers. Plus, the possum was no doubtly stressed being in a different place, caged, etc.

I had her in a big cage outside, but she was not happy. I had a hard time getting her to eat anything except raw meat and fruit. If I even reached into the cage to get her water bowl, she would attack me. I couldn't just turn her loose in my house, altho I tried bringing her in, but she wouldn't adapt. I have this picture of her sleeping in my house.

Reluctantly, I let her go. I watched her and she walked all over my yard, finally disappearing from sight, across the pasture.

A couple of weeks later, I was coming home at 4 a.m. after
taking my husband to work, and she crossed the highway about a mile from my house, right in front of my car. I turned around a couple of times and tried to find her, but couldn't. I recognized her by her hugely fat tail and an unusual black spot she had on her tail.

About a week later, I found her dead on the highway near that same spot.

I didn't know what her owner called her, but when I got her,
Big Brother, the reality tv show was on, and one of the participants, who called herself Nakomis, used the phrase
"Awesome opossum." So, I named her Nakomis.

Here is a picture of Nakomis asleep on my bed.

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RE: I have a possum

good morning,
well we have decided when katie and sadie get big enough were going to build them a hugeeeeeee outdoor cage for them to play in. we have wonderful area here in the back yard with some woods. ok tried eggs, yuck they didnt like them, tried potatoes, nope, worms they ate i think if they didnt crawl away lol. going to get yougurt tomorrow. i hate to read letters of animals being ran over, its so sad. that is why i cant let any of my wild animals go, i know their adapted to me taking care of them.


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RE: I have a possum

I am not in favor of keeping wild animals as pets if they have to be caged. I should say I am not in favor of wild animals as pets, period, but possums don't have much of a life in the wild, and when someone has them as a house possum, that is a little different in my eyes.

As possums mature, they will want to free. They will pace the cages all night long. That is heart breaking to see.

I hate to put a lot of time into raising animals and release them and then they end of killed by people, killed by dogs or ran over on the highway....but you do the best you can do. I live in a fairly remote area. Lots of open land around me for miles. Still you can't protect them from every thing that might happen.

If you are going to keep them as pets, you need to handle them frequently. For one thing, you need to look at them every day to make sure they are in good health and not chewing on each other. And if you don't handle them every day, they will get wilder and wilder.

It is hard work rehabbing animals. It takes me a good 3 hours every day to look after the animals here. I never wanted to do this. I am so easily depressed by man's cruelty and intolerance of wildlife. But, I don't see anyone who has the facilities and the time to step up and take my place. I have enormous sympathy for the animals and that is why I keep doing it.


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RE: I have a possum

i hear ya on that one. i am busy 24/7 it never stops with me and the animals. some days i say i cant do it anymore. but then i know i wont stop, lol..i am handling them every day, and watching them as i do al my other animals, by the way where do you live? i am located in north georgia. we have a gazillions oppsums around here, coons, deer in the front yard. i also have 15 turtles which i keep or people bring me.. their so cute also, along with my other animals, i guess i have around 30 all together. they have the most cleanest loving homes with me. their all spoiled, my hubby gets jealous sometimes. LOL


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RE: I have a possum

I too heard that about 90% of opossums never make it to their second year. So I don't see anything wrong to keep them as pets, as long as they are not locked up in small cages.
My girl doesn't like strangers also, if someone comes in my house and wants to see her, she shows her teeth as greeting, and than she run away with an unusual speed for opossum!
Marilyn, I forgot to answer on your question yesterday - she is two years old now.
Sadienkatie, how old are your babies? Thay sound way too picky. Maybe they are just too small. My girl eats everything that I ofter her. Don't give them cat food just because they don't eat anything else. Eventually, they will get hungry and will eat food that is good for them. You should give them milk products as yogurt, cotage cheese so they will not get MBD. Also, mature females often get urinary infection (I had it happen few times with my opossum). To keep her from getting it over and over, I started to use apple cider vinegar in her drink. I mix one tablespoon in one liter, and because she was not too happy with the taste, instead of one liter of water, I use 2/3 of water and 1/3 of juice - peach or grape. It solved the problem.
There is a place on internet with lot of people who keep opossums, you can find all kind of information and ask questions there, but I am not allowed to give a link to it. You can go to Google search page, type "Opossumsaspets" - all in one word and it will take you there.


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RE: I have a possum

Who are you to decide that a life confined is preferred over a life wild, as nature has given wildlings? All wildlife has shorter but richer lives, and they procreate, and live in their ecosystems, in nature. (Procreate means making more of their own kind, which is part of their life cycle that you have chosen to take away with their freedom.)

These last threads are the most ignorant I have ever seen on this forum. Other members should take note it is illegal and wrong for the animal to keep wild things as pets. There are licensed wildlife rehabilitators who actually read books and go to conferences to learn how best to raise and care for their charges, with the ultimate goal of releasing them back to the wild, where they belong.

Caring for a wild animal, especially a baby, often will kill the baby when done improperly. And if you have been doing it illegally for many years, then you have been doing a disservice to nature for that long. Nature belongs in nature, not in your house with the cats.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to Locate a Wildlife Rehabilitator


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RE: I have a possum

Most opossums are killed by cars and people, this is why they don't live too long. Cars, roads, people with guns and traps are not a part of their ecosystem. I would rather concentrate on those problems instead of placing my anger on the people who trying to save them. But before you say that someone is doing something "wrong" or "illegal", you should know that a lot of people breed and sell wild animals (including Virginia opossums) absolutely legally. And as long you don't know where the animal came from, or who is rehabber and who is not, you shouldn't say anything in this manner. I was trying to help, not fight!


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RE: I have a possum

good morning,
i fed sadie and katie some strawberrys last night, they loved them!.. i am going to get some cottage cheese and yogurt for them today also. their age ? i would say about month old. i dont want them to get diseased so i am trying all your helpful hints every night. their doing really well. i see sooo many oppusums on the road dead, i know people dileberatly run over them, they think their nothing but rats or their no good. i love all animals, wild, or tame. i think the greatest thing god put on this earth is animals, unlike people who have so much hatred in them. trapping i think is dusgusting, and people who abuse animals. i dont understand why people have so much hatred with people who help wildlife, at least were doing something for them to help them and give them love. i beleive more people should show love for animals and each other instead of showing anger and hate these days.


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RE: I have a possum

I wrote that there are wildlife rehabiltators not ignorant of their care. Do not misinterpret my concern and criticism for hate.

There is a link to licensed rehabbers who actually know what they are doing. Being "helpful" would, I think, make you want to do what is best for the animal, and that would be to get it the best possible help so it can ultimately be free. Not make it a pet. You believe it is God's creature? Did God iintend it to be out of the forest in your home? Shame on you.

You are misguided and ignorant, which are two powerfully harmful forces.

I spent over 10 years caring for injured and baby wild birds, so I do know what I am talking about. I did it legally and educated myself in those years with books, conferences and seminars. I had other people more informed than myself helping me. I got good advice from professionalss and worked with a vet.

Also: Possums are omnivores, so you'd better be providing them with grubs and calcium.


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RE: I have a possum

shame on me??? rofl,
so i guess youd rather see baby animals that are orphaned by their moms to die or get killed. i also have spent many years with animals, in fact since i was 7. i have seen many happy and unhappy situations with them, and if i can rescue them and help them live a long life then so be it. just because someone has a so called license doesnt mean they do or care any differently. and for your info, alot of orphaned animals cant go back into the wild, they end up dead. so i think giving them a good natural home within your house is great. working with a vet, i have to, and have seen some real idiots working with vets, as the vets were to, ive seen them abuse animals also, or let them die, or put them asleep. i came here to this chat to talk of nice things about animals, i hope you will to. i am always thankful to hear of suggestions from the people i have gotten here so far. i hope everyones possys are doing well today, oh and alaksandras and marylin i think your wonderful people for doing this, you sound like really nice and caring folks, high five to you.


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RE: I have a possum

Hi all, I have a question about my shih-tzu, my newborn (2 days) cardinals in a very low bush (3 1/2' above ground) and the cute little opossum I saw cruisin across my front yard this afternoon.

My dog likes to lay across the front porch in the late afternoon/early evening and bark at the frogs. Occasionally a neighborhood cat comes by and her bark of course changes to the protective sound that always brings me running to the door.

I managed to catch her before she left the porch, and I THINK she was mostly interested in getting a good sniff at the possum as she does with other animals, but ... do I need to keep her tied for a few days?

FYI, we are in a very rural area of northeastern Connecticut, so lots of wildlife here. I always make her come in at dark because of coyotes and fisher cats, hate to keep her tied in the day.

Let me know?


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RE: I have a possum

All dogs are different and its hard to say which one will harm a wild animal and which won't. But if your dog only lies on the front porch, so I guess, she wouldn't be too upset if you will tie her in there (temporary). She still will be doing the same thing as she doing now, only difference is that she will not be able to run and chase something. Opossums sleep in day time, but maybe this one is too young, maybe he needs some extra time to find his food because he is not so experienced yet. Cardinals should leave the nest in about two weeks, or you can put some kind of fence before that bush if you think that your dog is worrying them.


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RE: I have a possum

I am a wildlife rehabber, thank you very much. I handle around 300 orphaned and injured possums a year. As I said, I am usually opposed to wild animals being kept for pets, but I see an enormous amount of cruelty done to possums. Someone, such as aleksandras, who is informed and keeps her pet possum without being in a cage, I have no problem with that.

I tried in a nice way to tell sadienkatie how to take care of her possums. I think she means well, but has a lot to learn, and hopefully she will.

Rehabbing wildlife sounds like a wonderful avocation, but it is a sad, often dirty job. You see the absolute worst in people and the cruelty to wildlife...especially animals that aren't as cute as others...is staggering.

Most of the local (yes licensed) rehabbers that I know spend most of their efforts on birds and raccoons. They do not go to the extra trouble of feeding possums correctly. I am the only one I know in my local group who does go to that trouble. I am frequently brought crippled possums by other rehabbers who haven't taken the time to give them a correct diet.

I hate rehabbing. I never wanted to do it. I just happened to have some land in the country, on a bayou, and was asked if I would take a few possums to release. The first one brought to me was one that had a head injury and couldn't climb. He was bashed in the head by a human. Not ran over by a car. He was old when he got here and he was here for almost two years. The second one brought to me was fed a bad diet, a juvenile and couldn't walk without falling over. I eventually got her so she could sit up but she couldn't walk without staggering.

Now I get most of the possums that come in from two animal shelters and drop offs by people. I put in hours and hours a day taking care of them. I offer no appologies to anyone for the care that I take of these animals. I know that no one would do more for them than I would.


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RE: I have a possum

Marilyn, you're a hero, and I thank you for your work. It's certainly not for cowards.

Just for the record, could you post a list of acceptable possum food?


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RE: I have a possum

maryiln,
thanks for the info on the possums,why do you say, i think i mean well? as i said before i have a rescue farm, i have been around animals since i was 7. the possums? yes i came here for info, i havent had one in years. as for other animals i know much about, as i stated i have many rescued animals. i have raised many orphaned, and hurt animals myself. i work with my animals 24/7, why wouldnt i mean well? they have the best of homes with me, and are very healthy. i love all animals as i said before. i appreciate your info, and hope that you dont take my questions that i am not knoweldgeable about animals, because that is far from the truth. Such as turtles, they arnt as easy as people think either. as for my possums, their doing well, and eating more food than the cat food. i wanted to ask alexandras, how big is your cage outside? we are going to build one on our land also. or marilyn if you have a big cage how big? were going to make in a natural habitat for them.


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RE: I have a possum

Originally it was a 10x10 dog kenell with plastic mesh on top. Inside it has one live tree, some old branches and shelves. You can see a detailed picture at the link bellow. They will need boxs where they can sleep filled with beding material. If they will be there year round, maybe you will need to make two different kinds of boxes - one for summer, light, with ventilation, and warm ones, probably with flip door for winter. Also, this kennel has one side and about 1/3 of the top covered with a tarp to protect it from sun, rain and wind.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Kennel


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RE: I have a possum

thanks for the picture
the cage will probably be in mostly shade wich is good, where ive seen other possums around. i will put it around a real tree also i know they would love that. i think were going to do something like 15x10. your cat is funny in there with them also. cute!..


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RE: I have a possum

I love all the pictures, I cannot believe you have a collar on the possum. Tooo cute.
The one picture looks like she is actually posing.
I love possums.
Thanks for sharing the pictures. Any more?????


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RE: I have a possum

Horseback Riding :)

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RE: I have a possum

I have never been a fan of possums, but seeing some of the pictures and reading some of the stories here was really neat. I guess my two visitors that come just about every night will now be feed with all the other wildlife that come to visit. Thanks for all the useful information.
Kay


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RE: I have a possum

I am French, and I love animals.
I am currently living in australia, and there is a lot of possus here and I ve been so delighted to dicover this new wild life. Possums are kind of exostic exotic to me.
I loved reading the stories people wrote here.
I just wanna show you the pic of a little possum (brush tail possum) I found in Melbourne last week. Only 12cm long !
He must have fell from his mum s bag, I dont know, because it was on the ground, yelling to get some help.
I came back an hour later and it was still at the same place, alone, and obviously tired. The mum hadnt got him back.
So I took it to the vet, a bit sad cause I couldn t keep it (i leave in an apartment).
I post some pics so you can see what the australian cousins look like !

Here is a link that might be useful: a little rescued possum from australia


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RE: I have a possum

Well, I've read all the posts here and I still hate the darned things. They just creep me out, totally.

Maybe it stems from the fact that we have one the size of a small car, who has actually bent metal stakes in the garden as he waddles around. He leaves a mess every morning. I've watched him knock over the bird bath!

And they are not exclusively nocturnal. I called animal control last month because I saw him running around a neighbor's yard in 90 degree heat at 2:00 p.m. and was worried that he was ill and therefore a danger. The guy said that's fairly unusual, but they go amble around in the daylight on occasion.

Euuuwwwww! They are just creepy with those little beady eyes and that nekkid tale.

-Donna


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Possum Grapes for seed

Good day all,

I would love to have some possum grapes to seed and plant. I would appreciate trading or pay shipping. Thank you in advance.


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