Looking at these photos of adorable baby opossums it’s hard to believe that many people consider the gentle creatures pests. In fact, opossums are actually the opposite, in that they feed on animals that are most definitely pests around our house and garden.
Take a look at the cute pictures below and learn more about North America’s only marsupial and what to do if you find a baby all alone.
Baby opossums are carried in their mother’s pouch until they are large enough to cling to her and walk around on their own. Sometimes, baby opossums can become separated from their mom, either when she is hurt or killed or accidentally falls off her back.
So what should you do if you find a baby opossum? The first thing to do is to check if their mother or other opossums might be around.
“Be quiet and listen for ‘sneezing’ sounds the young make to call the mother,” advises the Opossum Society of the United States (OSUS).
The next thing to do is to check if it is, in fact, too young to be on its own. According to the OSUS, many young opossums brought to wildlife rehabilitates are not really orphans but young juveniles. If an opossum is less than 7 inches in size from its nose to rump then it’s definitely too young to be on its own.
Of course, if an opossum is visibly sick or injured, then it needs help, regardless of its size!
The best thing to do if you find an injured or orphaned opossum is to call your local OSUS member, veterinarian, state department of wildlife or wildlife rescue. You’ll want to check with them to make sure they do not euthanize all opossums, as some do and that would be a shame.
The OSUS advises not trying to raise them on your own, as this can lead to serious health complications in the animal and it is illegal in most states.
If you are lucky enough to find an opossum in your yard (that’s not a baby orphan), you’re actually getting a great pest controller, according to the OSUS. Opossums eat snails, slugs, spiders, cockroaches, ticks, rats, mice and snakes – all the unwanted pests you don’t want around your home. Consider them a natural sanitation worker!
Also, they don’t actually take up residence in a yard. They have multiple den sites and never spend more than 2 to 3 days at the same sleeping spot. If you don’t really want them around, simply tear up their sleeping site and they’ll move on to the next.
What interesting creatures. I never knew they were natural exterminators. And the joeys are oh-so-adorable! Have you ever rescued one!
Share these opossum facts with your friends and family!