Opossums

Did you find a BABY opossum?

Baby opossums stay in their mother’s pouch until they are about 2.5 months old and about the size of a mouse. At this age, they ride on Mom’s back and can sometimes fall off without her noticing. If the baby opossum is smaller than 7 inches long (not including the tail), they are too young to be on their own.

If you have found a dead mother with babies, please check the pouch to ensure that you have retrieved all the babies. If babies are still attached to the nipples and are not easily coming off, please do not try to remove them, but instead call us at 713.468.8972 as soon as possible. Refer to the Temporary Care Instructions for All Animals on the previous page for proper care.

Have you found an injured ADULT opossum?

If you have found an injured adult opossum, please follow the instructions under “Does the animal seem to be ill or injured?” on the previous page.

General Information about Virginia Opossums

The Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana), commonly known as the North American opossum, is the only marsupial found in the United States and Canada. In Houston, we typically see opossum babies as early as February continuing through to October, with most babies born in the spring.The breeding season for the Virginia opossum can begin as early as December and continue through October, with most infants born between the months of February and June. A female opossum may have 1-3 litters per year that contain 16-20 babies, although less than half will reach adulthood. The life span of the Virginia Opossum is about 2-4 years.

Opossums are prevalent throughout Houston, in neighborhoods as well as more natural areas. Many people think of opossums as pests or threatening, but they are actually shy, harmless animals that are beneficial to have around. Opossums do not dig in yards or cause damage to homes. They are known as “nature’s pest control” as they eat things that people typically do not want in their yard such as roaches, ticks, snails, rats and mice. Opossums are solitary, nomadic animals that do not establish a permanent territory. Since they are often severely injured by dogs when passing through a back yard, it is best not to feed them to avoid them returning to a neighborhood.

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