Here are a group of Virgina Opossums that I'm keeping for the weekend. At some jobs people take paper work home.....
Virgina Opossums are North America's only Marsupial. They have a pouch, the young are born very young and crawl inside to develop. Despite being tiny these opossums are already about six weeks old. Of course Austraila is the most famous for thier marsupials, however the smallest one (the Mouse Possum) lives in South America. Funny enough depending on where in the world the Opossum/Possum, lives determines how you spell it.
Lots of people do not like Opossum. I don't know why. They eat insects, they do not carry rabies (their body temp is too low), and they do not tend to bite. They do hiss and spit, but they hardly ever attack or even bite when picked up. They do 'play opossum' by falling over, going catatonic, and oozing a smelly substance from their anal glands. This makes most predators think that they could find a taster meal.
If you find an injured adult Opossum pick it up by the tail and place it in a box with a towel and bring him/her to the local Wildlife Center.
A car hit our mother and the driver was kind enough to bring her to the Wildlife Center. She did not make it, but we still have a chance at becoming just as big as she was. We need lots of care and we ARE NOT PETS!
UPDATE: I have been getting letters from people that have owned pet opossums and raccoons. It is true that it can be done and with a lot of work they can be imprinted. However I strongly suggest *against* it. If you are committed to keeping the animal through "richer or poorer" then more power to you, get the proper information and permits and enjoy. Just make sure that you are willing to keep this animal if it should ever become nasty and wild. This usually happens around the time that they become sexually active.
I know that there are wonderful stories of people sharing their lives with a opossum or raccoon. But for every story of love there are a hundred horror stories. Tame raccoons and opossums are regularly dropped off at the Wildlife Center because they are not longer wanted and there is nothing we can do for these creatures. Releasing an imprinted animal is never a good idea because they will seek out humans and at times they will seek out the wrong person and get hurt or killed. Animals that have never had any contact with their kind, no matter how 'wild' they may seem, will in many cases be an outcast in the wild. I'm sure anyone would agree that abandoning a pet dog or cat in the wild is inhumane, the same goes for imprinted wildlife.
For more information go to 13 simple ways to keep from harming Wildlife.
I have to have a special Opossum Milk Replacer pumped directly into my stomach by a thin tube down my throat (suckling baby opossums takes too long and the good people at the Wildlife Center have enough to do).
I'm a little Female Opossum. You can see my pouch outlined in red. When I become sexualy mature I'll have little ones of my own stuffed in there like a little purse.