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Opossums All about Opossums.


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  #1  
Old 09-16-2009, 11:26 AM
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Laura Laura is offline
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Default In need of a bit of help!!!

My name is Laura and I live in Northern Ireland. My ex-partner used to own a reptile shop and we have over the years been handed all manner of animals that people no longer wanted. Two months ago a lady came to my home and handed me a box with an 8wk old Virginia Opossum in it. Now as you can imagine we don’t see these things in Ireland lol!!! She has almost tripled in size now and is thriving. Ive tried unsuccessfully to find her a good home as there seems to be no one who knows what theyre doing and the people that want her seem to be idiots who think its cool to own such an animal.

Ive now decided that she can live with me as Ive grown so attached to her! So full of character…loves waking me up at night!

So, as I cant find a lot of info on them and my experience is pretty much limited to cats, dogs and reptiles Id greatly appreciate your help. At the moment she free roams around the house, she has a hooded cat bed in the utility room where its nice and warm with no light. She shares 1 litter tray with the cat and has one of her own also. She has been wormed and treated for fleas along with the cat and had a weigh and general health check.

She is eating everything given to her. She gets locusts or roaches every evening, chicken every second day, fruit in small quantities every second day, vegetables every second day and an egg every second day. (but is being fed every night) She also gets meal worms when I have them (about once or twice a week). She gets a small amount of yoghurt as a treat occasionally and eats a wide array of food from the bin even tho shes not meant to be doing that lol!. She also eats the cats dry food (it’s the kind formulated for indoor cats). Is this diet varied enough? Is there anything she should be getting less/ more of?

Also she has on occasion stolen a few mice as Ive had them defrosting for the bigger lizards… Im assuming this is ok? Should I be defrosting a few for her? Ive also read that supplementing their diets with calcium powder is bad? I was dusting every second insect feed with powder…should I stop and source more calcium rich foods? I also am unsure about red meat? Apart from the few mice she stole Ive never given her any. Any suggestions?

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this and any help would be greatly appreciated.

Laura
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Old 10-10-2009, 09:52 AM
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MissDolittle MissDolittle is offline
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Default Re: In need of a bit of help!!!

Wow, nobody answered you here...I'm sorry. I had hoped that somebody had some better input than I had via email. How is she doing?
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Old 10-12-2009, 04:31 AM
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Default Re: In need of a bit of help!!!

Hi Birgit! Shes doin great. Huge now!!!! heard her growl for the first time last night lol! the cat thought her egg was a toy and she wasnt happy at all!!!!!

Shes also now eating lip gloss, toothpaste, cigarettes, tea bags....anything she can get those cute wee hands on. Honestly its like having a nocternal toddler! Have to check everything before I go to bed so she cant eat anything weird.

I wanted to ask too, it gets pretty cold here in winter. should I move her from the utility room downstairs to a room on the main floor or upstairs as theres no heating in the utility room. Or would she be ok and move herself if she feels the need? dont want to be bothering her if I dont need to.
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Old 10-12-2009, 06:32 AM
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Default Re: In need of a bit of help!!!

hello, Ill chime in with my opinion then, although Im not a rehabber
What Ive seen in possums in long term captive care is bulging eyes from collagen build up . However I dont know exactly what causes this but it apparently is not too detrimental to them. They are a bit like having a ground monkey around as they will investigate everything and nicotine can be lethal so be careful of that.
Here is a care site, hope it helps.
http://theopossumpage.com/pagekeeping.html
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Last edited by Bear : 10-12-2009 at 06:35 AM.
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Old 10-12-2009, 07:36 AM
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Default Re: In need of a bit of help!!!

Thanks for that Bear, that link was great as in I have had none of the health problems with Toast at all and I now know what to look for. The cigs and things shes got at have only haappened once and I now do a possum proofing walk around the house each night.

I still cant find any specifics about diet tho. Ive put out all the sos calls to all the major exotic keepers associations in the uk but you just dont have anyone this side of the pond who keeps them (there are only 4 in the uk including Toast!!!!) and anyone Ive spoken to on American/Austrailian forums havnt bothered to read my post properly and just attacked me for keeping Toast as a "pet" and told me to release her...... a hand reared possum....set loose in Northern Ireland? yes, responsible advice indeed

I didnt choose to have a possum. I am a reptile keeper. But Toast was landed on my doorstep and Id rather offer her a home than see her go to someone who wouldnt just let her free roam and do her own wee thing. I really am trying my best but its so difficult trying to find the right info.

People really shouldnt be able to just buy/import exotic mammals without having some form of checks done on their environment and knowledge.

Arrrraggggh! lol. Sorry folks, just needed a bit of a rant. I will not give up tho. My vet thinks she has tracked down a professor at cambridge university who is aparently a bit of a marsupial expert so fingers crossed I finally get some answers!!!!!
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Old 10-12-2009, 08:14 AM
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Default Re: In need of a bit of help!!!

lol, they are really not that difficult. They will eat anything as you already know. I will contact my friend at Disney's Animal Kingdom, she is a marsupial /mammal care specialist. I will get a diet from her for you. I was an animal care specialist there for years but I did not deal with marsupials much.
Opossums are very short lived though, lucky to get 3 years out of them.
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Old 10-12-2009, 08:16 AM
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Default Re: In need of a bit of help!!!

Oh I know! Im dreading it! Youd have though my entire family was wiped out I was that bad when my Rats died so what am I gonna be like with Toast?!!!!!

That would be GREATLY apreciated Bear!! Thank you so much for the help!
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Old 10-12-2009, 09:43 AM
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MissDolittle MissDolittle is offline
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Default Re: In need of a bit of help!!!

The life expectancy is this short when they live out in the wild. In captivity they can reach 8 to 10 years.
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Old 10-12-2009, 10:06 AM
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Laura Laura is offline
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Default Re: In need of a bit of help!!!

8 to 10! lmao! looks like im in for a lot more sleepless nights than first expected!
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Old 10-12-2009, 10:41 AM
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MissDolittle MissDolittle is offline
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Default Re: In need of a bit of help!!!

LOL, you can spend those nights right here, hehee.
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