Pet Opossum Legal States 2022

Are Opossums Considered Wild Animals?

Opossums are North America's only native marsupials. They are wild animals and are considered part of the natural wildlife in many states. While there are many species of opossum in the United States, the Virginia opossum and the short-tailed opossum are the two most commonly kept as pets. Because opossums are considered wildlife, keeping one as a pet is banned in most states. If your state has a ban on owning wildlife as pets, it is safe to assume that includes any species of opossum. Of course, you can consult your local laws and restrictions in order to determine if pet opossums are illegal in your area.

What States Is It Legal To Have an Opossum?

Although opossums are considered wildlife, some states have no restrictions surrounding pet ownership of wild animals. Arkansas, Wyoming, and Wisconsin do not require a permit to keep a pet opossum. Oregon does not require a permit if you are keeping a Short-Tailed Opossum as a pet. However, if you plan on keeping a Virginia Opossum as a pet in Oregon, you will need to get a permit.

Other states allow opossums as pets but require a special permit. You may be able to own a pet opossum in Colorado, Maine, Indiana, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, and North Dakota with a permit. In Missouri, you can keep an opossum as a pet, but the Virginia opossum is considered a large carnivore, so large carnivore permitting is needed. In Nebraska, pet owners will need to acquire a captive wildlife permit before keeping an opossum as a pet.

Do Opossums Make Good Pets?

Most people who have an opossum as a pet choose the short-tailed opossum. These animals are smaller and can be great pets for beginners. They are highly affectionate, relatively clean, and generally very healthy. Because these animals are so small, keeping a short-tailed opossum is relatively inexpensive. They will need a suitable, secure cage to live in because they are adept at escaping. A large, well-ventilated 20-gallon or larger aquarium or mesh wire cage is recommended.

Opossums have an omnivorous diet. They eat either commercially-available short-tail food or cat or ferret food. It is important to make sure their diet is low in fat and high in protein. Dry food should be accessible to the opossum during the day, and live insects and fresh fruits and vegetables can be offered up to five times a day. Because short-tails can easily get dehydrated, it is important for water to be accessible and clean in their hanging water bottles. Expect a pet opossum to live for six years or more if they are well cared for.

Pet Opossum Legal States 2022