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Illegal
24
Need Permit
23
Legal

Pet Opossum Legal States 2024

Pet Opossum Legal States 2024

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, Connecticut, 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 Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Virginia 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 2024

  • Laws regarding wild animals kept as pets may change with little notice. Moreover, even in states where opossums are legal at the state level to keep as pets, additional regulations may exist at the county, municipal, or local levels.
  • In light of these uncertainties, prospective opossum parents are encouraged to confirm legality with local authorities before adopting.

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State
Pet Opossum Legal Status
AlabamaIllegal
AlaskaIllegal
ArizonaIllegal
ArkansasLegal
CaliforniaIllegal
ColoradoIllegal
ConnecticutLegal
DelawareNeed Permit
District of ColumbiaIllegal
FloridaNeed Permit
GeorgiaNeed Permit
HawaiiIllegal
IdahoIllegal
IllinoisNeed Permit
IndianaNeed Permit
IowaIllegal
KansasNeed Permit
KentuckyNeed Permit
LouisianaIllegal
MaineIllegal
MarylandNeed Permit
MassachusettsIllegal
MichiganNeed Permit
MinnesotaIllegal
MississippiNeed Permit
MissouriNeed Permit
MontanaIllegal
NebraskaNeed Permit
NevadaNeed Permit
New HampshireIllegal
New JerseyNeed Permit
New MexicoNeed Permit
New YorkNeed Permit
North CarolinaIllegal
North DakotaNeed Permit
OhioNeed Permit
OklahomaNeed Permit
OregonNeed Permit
PennsylvaniaIllegal
Rhode IslandIllegal
South CarolinaNeed Permit
South DakotaNeed Permit
TennesseeIllegal
TexasIllegal
UtahIllegal
VermontIllegal
VirginiaNeed Permit
WashingtonIllegal
West VirginiaIllegal
WisconsinLegal
WyomingLegal
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