It is very important to find out the laws in your state regarding keeping, rehabilitating and transporting wildlife. The fact that your possum comes when you call his name, eats at your table and sleeps on your bed does not necessarily make him a domesticated pet or family member in the eyes of the law.
In some states it is flat out illegal to keep and transport wild animals. In West Virginia, it's your choice, a $2 permit or a $500 fine. Call your local game warden and find out. Just ASK about the laws. If you volunteer information that you have a possum in your possession, you may be told to bring the animal in and/or receive a fine. The animal may be destroyed or put on display in a state game farm. There are many stories about people who were told to bring in the animal they found and then recieved a hefty fine for transporting wildlife.
Above all, never carry an unpermitted wild animal in your car, even if you're just being a good citizen taking a injured animal to the game warden. Many people think that the game warden is a drop off for injured wildlife. Some game warden's don't have a sense of humor about this and you will likely be fined for transporting wildlife. So... call before you haul.
In addition to a license to keep wildlife as pets, some states require wildlife rehabilitators to be licensed as well. See if you are required in your state to have a license to play rehabilitator. Check your laws.
If you travel to another state with an opossum, be sure you know their laws or you may be coming home without said possum.
Also, don't brag that you raise/keep/love possums around people who raise/keep/love horses. Possums have been fingered for hosting a parasite that causes equine protozoal myeloencephalitis, or EPM - which is bad news for horses.
Evidently horses can contract EPM by eating horse-feed that has been contaminated by feces that is dropped by opossums which have picked up the parasite while eating dead skunks and armadillos which themselves have been infected by the parasite from who knows where... probably eating horse manure... A long and winding path, indeed.
I'd lay odds that the skunks sneak into the stables at night and plant the possum feces in the horse feed to finger the possum and take the heat off of themselves and their armadillo hoodlum associates. Everyone knows skunks are no good stinkers and cannot be trusted. Remember that conniving Pepe LePew?
And any animal that would wear an accordion for a corset, well...
Nevertheless, some horse owners are of the opinion that eradicating the opossum is a quick and simple cure for their problems.
QUOTE: "Control the opossum, skunk and armadillo population on your farm. The single most important animal to remove would be the opossum," said Cheadle, who recently received his doctorate from the University of Florida.
I must credit the following Bayer website for recommending more responsible horse-feed storage practices, without mentioning 'opossum control'...
If you are going to be involved with taking care of a possum for any length of time, please join National Opossum Society ($25). Order their diet and info packet ($10). It is very worth the money. Do not wait until the possum develops problems. It will take at least as long to back out of the problem as it took to develop it, and even then, it may be too late, some problems cannot be reversed.
Max and Donna
The two main things we learned from our experiences are:
- You can't save baby opossums by feeding them insects, balogna, hamburger, milk, baby food and dog food. Counter to all common opinions, opossums are not garbage disposals. We and our orphans found that out the hard way.
- It is not advisable for just anyone to keep possums, either in a cage or running loose in the house. Possums are not like dogs and cats, they are VERY high maintenance animals.
I know many people will disagree with #2 and that's OK.
theopossumpage exists to:
- increase public awareness that the opossum is a beautiful and worthwhile creature,
- change public opinion that opossums are destructive, dangerous and need to be exterminated, and
- make the whereabouts of good information available to those who need help quickly to care for orphaned or injured opossums.
theopossumpage advises against the keeping of opossums as pets.
theopossumpage strongly urges those who insist on keeping an opossum as a pet to obtain proper diet and medical information and to be aware of the opossum's special dietary needs.
theopossumpage approves of clinical observation, study and research only on orphaned, injured, sick or permanently handicapped (unreleasable) opossums and then only:
theopossumpage strongly disapproves of the capturing, breeding, supplying and exporting of opossums for use as laboratory specimens in consumer product testing, scientific experimentation and medical research regardless of perceived merit of such research.
- when the opossums are housed, fed and treated in a respectful and humane manner,
- when the research improves the health and welfare of the opossum and the species,
- when the conclusions are documented, made public and shared freely and
- when such opossums are released when they are recovered and able to fend for themselves.
theopossumpage commends all caregivers for their hard work. We know how much dedication, expense and love required to get possums into shape for release. The page, however, is about possums, not people, so we do not state the actual names of anyone associated with the possums described on the page. It is not because we want to exclude recognition to anyone in particular, but crediting everyone involved by name could become problematic. It is fairest to everyone if no one gets named. Besides, we all do it for the possums, not for recognition. You all are nonetheless recognized and appreciated by the ones who matter the most... the possums who are able to go out and live their lives thanks to your effort.
Torture one animal and they call it ABUSE, torture a thousand and they call it SCIENCE!
This website is dedicated to the memory of Pete and Blossom, 1994-1996.
Too much cheese, meat and Old Roy's dog food. Too little information.
Made in West Virginia, U.S.A.
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