Baby possums food

What Do Possums Eat? Can You Feed Baby Possums?


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If you find a baby possum abandoned on the side of the road somewhere, you probably shouldn’t pick them up before calling animal control. But what happens if you have no choice but to take them home to nurse them back to health? You might find yourself with an adorable conundrum on your hands. You might even find yourself wondering a few things about possum biology and behavior. For instance: can you feed baby possums? Should you feed them? And either way, what do possums eat? 

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What kind of possum are we talking about?

If you’re from Australia, a possum is a very different animal from the one Americans keep referring to as possums. What we are talking about is the opossum, America's only marsupial, and one that possesses very few similarities to its Aussie cousin. There are 65 different species of opossum in North America, according to the Opossum Society. The most common of these many marsupials is the Virginia opossum, which is the one we shall focus on today. 

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What do possums eat?

Frankly, when it comes to the opossum, the question “what do they eat?” doesn’t really seem appropriate. It might be more appropriate to ask “what don’t they eat?” Opossums have always had a bit of a bad reputation among suburban residents for being scavengers — which, of course, they are. But that doesn’t mean we should hold it against them. Especially because their versatile diets actually help us get rid of carrion (decaying dead animal bodies).

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According to pest control company Terminix, opossums eat everything from dead animals to insects, rodents, birds, frogs, plants, fruit, and grain. They don’t just feed on the flesh of carrion or roadkill either. Possum diets require a high degree of calcium, which they can get from eating the skeletal remains of rodents and other dead creatures. Opossums will also eat cat food, dog food, and table scraps from our garbage cans. Unfortunately, it is this “taste for trash” that makes them more of a pest than a helper in the eyes of many. 

How do possums eat so many different things?

Opossums are scavengers by evolution and opportunity. They are nocturnal but possess poor eyesight, which doesn’t really help when it comes to trying to find food. Luckily, they make up for this with great hearing and a very keen sense of smell. This has made them fairly successful opportunists, especially when they find themselves living in and around suburban and rural communities. 

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These remarkable marsupials possess other positive traits as well — though we will admit that most of these also have to do with them finding food. Opossums don’t just find food well, they can also remember where it is located for the next time. According to Landscape Architecture Magazine, possums scored higher than rats, rabbits, cats, and dogs in laboratory tests meant to recall where food was placed. That’s why it’s so hard to get rid of possums on your own — they remember where you keep the goods!

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What do baby possums eat?

Adults may be great at scavenging, but baby opossums are not nearly as well-equipped. Like all marsupials, opossum mommies lack a placenta, so their young must grow and be kept in a pouch. Newborn opossums are about the size of a honey bee and will stay in their mother’s pouch for around 80 days before they are mature enough to begin scavenging on their own. 

What to feed baby possums?

Once they are big enough to leave the pouch, baby possums can eat just about everything. You can feed them dog and cat food in moderation. You could also feed them insects like cockroaches, worms, slugs, and snails (one of their favorite foods). This is only pertinent if the baby is old enough, of course, and with an orphaned opossum, that isn’t always known. 

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According to the blog WildHeart, baby possums do not thrive on milk. For one, marsupial milk is very different from cow’s milk or formula. On top of that, baby possums don’t suckle like other animals, so attempting to bottle feed could cause them to aspirate and die. The point we’re trying to make here is that you, reader, are likely ill-equipped to feed or care for a baby possum on your own. 

Should I feed a baby possum?

No, you really, really shouldn’t — not without some guidance, anyway, If you find a baby possum, either alone or attached to their deceased mother, you should contact your local animal control, veterinarian, or animal rescue right away. If the baby possum is alone and walking in the wilderness and you can’t help yourself, get a box with towels or old shirts, along with a wrapped heating pad or water bottle, and get them to an animal expert as quickly as possible. That is the best way to help them. 


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    5 Things Baby Possums Like to Eat Most (Diet, Care & Feeding Tips)

    It is easy to be touched by the sight of a cute and cuddly baby possum. You may come across one who has become detached from its mother or has otherwise lost its way. If you are to help the little fur baby survive, it is important to learn a little about how to nourish and care for it.

    Table of Contents

    • Baby Possum Habits and Biology
    • Do baby possums eat dirt?
    • What do baby possums like to eat most?
    • Food You Should Avoid Feeding Baby Possums
    • Tips to Feed Baby Possums
    • FAQ
    • Summary

    Baby Possum Habits and Biology

    Female possums are without a placenta. They carry their babies in a pouch between 80 and 100 days until they are big enough to leave.

    Possums are scavengers. A baby possum is about the size of a honey bee when it is first conceived and will not leave the mother’s pouch until it can scavenge on its own.

    The possum is a nocturnal creature with poor eyesight but excellent hearing and a keen sense of smell. This gives it some advantages when trying to survive in a human habitat. Possums forage for food while humans sleep, and they are more alert to potential threats in the dark as they rely more on sound than sight.

    As scavengers, possums are not very good. However, what they lack in skill they make up for in memory. Once they have a hit scavenging jackpot, they remember where it is and return to it again and again to feed.

    Although possums do not hibernate, they do slow down in winter. They burrow themselves into holes that they fill with leaves or whatever else they can find to keep themselves warm. Their fur and fat reserves also help keep the chill out.

    And here is a fun fact. Ever wonder where the phrase “playing possum” comes from? It refers to the fascinating defense mechanism possums used to protect themselves against predators.

    When possums are frightened or harmed, they go into a kind of catatonic state. They freeze, paralyzed with fear, and sometimes lay down as though dead.

    A baby possum who is left unharmed will usually recover from this state after a few hours.

    Do baby possums eat dirt?

    No. Possums are omnivorous and survive by eating a wide-range of foods. Dirt is not among them.

    What do baby possums like to eat most?

    Once a possum is mature enough to scavenge on its own, it will do so. Baby possums are not picky about what they eat. Evolution has given them the ability to make the best of what’s around.

    One little known fact about possums is their high need for large amounts of calcium. It is why they will eat the remains of rodents and roadkill. Here are some of the other things that baby possums like to eat most:

    1. -They are especially fond of snails. They will also eat insects, including ants, cockroaches and the like.
    2. -Plants. If you are taking care of a possum or have spotted a few rummaging around your house (remember, they will remember where food is once they have found it), then you should keep your potted plants at an elevated level and build a fence around your garden plants.
    3. -Fruits and grain. Baby possums are likely to eat low-hanging fruit from trees or fruit that has fallen to the ground. But they will also climb a tree to get at the fruit.
    4. –Frogs. If you have any around your house, you are unlikely to be burdened by the noise they make for very long if there are possums around.
    5. -Dog food, cat food, and scraps. It is said that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. The aphorism can certainly be extended to possums. They are known for rummaging around trash looking for discarded food and containers with minute quantities of food in them.

    The bottom line is that baby possums will eat nearly anything they can find. Accessing source of food is not a typical problem for them. Their sharp sense of smell gives them the ability to track down the exact location of the food.

    They have sharp claws that enable them to dig up the ground when necessary. Their sharp claws and long tail also give them the ability to climb trees to get what they need.

    Food You Should Avoid Feeding Baby Possums

    As was stated above, possums eat just about anything. However, you should take care when feeding baby possums. Unless you have the education and training, you are unlikely to be able to tell the exact age of a baby possum.

    If you find it rummaging through animal remains or discarded trash, it is probably old enough to have left its mother’s pouch and scavenge on its own. However, the possum may be small enough to look like a baby in your eyes, and you may want to feed it milk.

    This is the wrong thing to do. Marsupial milk differs considerably from other animal milk or formula. Additionally, possums don’t suckle like human beings. Trying to feed them like you would your own baby can cause them to aspirate and die.

    Here are a couple of other things you should avoid:

    • Don’t feed an injured or orphaned baby possum

    Feeding them the wrong kind of milk can cause a deadly and irreversible metabolic bone disease to develop in them. Feeding a malnourished and dehydrated baby possum can cause a shock to their system and kill them.

    • Don’t force-feed a baby possum

    If a possum is old enough to have left its mother’s pouch, it is old enough to find its own food and eat it. You can leave out scraps or even insects and slugs for it to eat. The possum will do so in its own time.

    Tips to Feed Baby Possums

    In general, it is best to leave a baby possum alone—even if it has been separated from its mother. Most baby possums only look tiny, fragile and helpless. In reality, they may not be as young and vulnerable as they appear.

    In fact, any possum that seems able to get around pretty good under its own power is probably a juvenile possum. And the latter are perfectly capable of surviving on their own.

    You should know that in most states it is illegal to care for possums unless you are a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. However, if you have come across a baby possum—an actual baby—that has somehow become separated from its mother, then you can offer temporary care in the form of feeding.

    You should warm the infant baby possum before attempting to feed it. You must stimulate it before the feeding by lightly rubbing its genital areas with a warm and moist cotton ball.

    You can feed the baby possum Esbilac over a 24-hour period. However, this should be dispensed using a dropper or syringe.

    If the baby possum seems a little too large to be a baby but it seems injured, you can feed offer it water in a shallow bowl or jar lid. The possum is likely to defecate in it, so you will need to change the water often.

    For more explicit guidance, watch this video:

    Remember, the best place for a wounded or orphaned possum in a clinic or refuge run by a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.


    1. How long can baby possums go without food?

    Like most animals, baby possums cannot survive long without food. They are unlikely to live more than a few days without proper sustenance.

    2. When do baby possums eat solid food?

    When they are between 3 to 5 months old.

    3. Can baby possums eat cat food?

    You can feed them cat and dog food in moderation.

    4. Can baby possums eat apples, bananas, and other fruit?

    Yes. Possums eat fruit of all kinds.

    5. What do baby possums eat in captivity?

    If they are mature enough to eat sold food, you can feed them just about anything. Snails is among their favorite foods.

    6. What do baby possums eat in the wild?

    Baby possums are scavengers, and will eat anything they can find and get access to—from plants to roadkill.

    7. What do baby possums eat in New Zealand?

    Possums have been filmed eating the eggs, chicks, and adults of birds that are native to New Zealand.

    8. What do baby possums eat in Australia?

    Possums in Australia have a high tolerance for toxins in certain plants and will eat some that other animals find poisonous.

    9. Can baby possums eat carrots?

    Yes. They eat vegetables of every kind.

    10. Can baby possums eat baby food?

    Possums can eat baby food when they have started on solids.


    Baby possums are adorable little creatures. But they are tougher and more resilient than other young animals. It is best to let an orphaned baby possum alone. If it seems in distress, you should follow the guidelines above to care for it, and contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator as soon as possible.

    Four-eyed opossum - Marsupials | Non-commercial educational and cognitive Internet portal Zoogalaxy



    Gray four-eyed opossum ( Philander opossum ) distributed in Central America, north to the southern states of Mexico, and in South America east of the Andes, south to Paraguay and Northern Argentina. Inhabits various forests, preferring moist habitats, common near forest streams and swamps. Gray four-eyed opossums love a temperate humid climate, so they settle along the banks of rivers and lakes, in places where more than 1000 mm of precipitation falls per year.


    This animal received the name "four-eyed" because of the well-defined spots above the eyes. The length of its body reaches 25-35 cm, its weight ranges from 240 to 400 g. The tail of the four-eyed opossum is slightly longer than the body, thin, grasping. It is densely pubescent 5-8 cm from the base, then practically naked; dark gray for 2/3 of the length, then whitish. The fur of the opossum is thick and lush, but short. The top of the body is brownish-gray, the bottom is yellowish; the top of the head is almost black. Above the eyes are light rounded spots, which gave the animal its name. The ears are short, rounded, usually dark.


    Four-eyed possum lives almost exclusively in trees and only comes down to the ground when it wants to hunt below. Its completely bare, prehensile tail makes climbing easier; in any position in which it happens to be seen, he always holds on to it and, intending to rest, first of all wraps his long rat tail twice around the nearest branch and in this way saves himself from falling. Gray four-eyed opossums are also excellent swimmers, however, their long hind legs are better suited for jumping and running across soft forest flooring. The opossum usually rests on the branches of trees; its long-term shelters are spherical nests up to 30 cm in diameter, which the animal builds in forks of branches at a height of 8-10 meters, among bushes or on the ground under deadwood. Occasionally, the opossum digs holes. This animal leads a solitary and predominantly nocturnal lifestyle. It rarely moves far from the nest, and half of its movements are concentrated within a radius of 30 meters.


    It feeds on a wide variety of invertebrates (insects, worms, crustaceans) and small vertebrates (including small rodents, frogs and lizards), bird clutches. Probably, sometimes he eats carrion. If animal food is not enough, opossums become vegetarian and eat leaves, seeds and fruits with pleasure.


    Reproduction of the four-eyed opossum in different parts of its range can be both year-round and seasonal. The female brings in a year usually 2 broods of 2-7 cubs each. The number of babies depends on the size of the female: if she weighs more than 445 grams, then her family is usually replenished with 5-7 babies, and if less, then three or four small opossums are born. Cubs become independent at the age of 2.5 months, and reach sexual maturity by 15 months.

    See also:

    "Mom, take me in your arms!" The sleepiest animals

    Sugar opossum. Exotic pets

    Probably no one will be surprised by a cat sitting freely on the owner's sofa, or a dog running out into the hallway barking joyfully. But in recent years, more and more often in the homes of our compatriots appear exotic pets that have come to us from around the world. It can be a ferret or Achatina, an iguana or a tarantula, a chinchilla or an opossum. Today we will tell you about the last representative of exotic animals.

    Sugar possum: general information

    These charming miniature animals live in eastern and northern regions of Australia, in Tasmania, on the islands of the Bismarck archipelago, in New Guinea. Most of the time, the flying squirrel (as the opossum is often called) spends on trees and quite rarely descends to the ground. They are most often found in eucalyptus forests. It should be noted that the sugar possum is a creature that easily adapts to new conditions, and therefore at present it can be found in any forest that has the necessary food supply. That is why these cute animals are not yet threatened with extinction.

    Possum is active at night. It feeds on the sweet juice of acacias and some types of eucalyptus, fruits and nectar of other trees. Insects, small vertebrates and invertebrates (protein food) play an important role in the diet of these cute animals.

    In the event of a lack of food (in winter), the opossum falls into a state that can be compared to a lethargic sleep. They can stay in it up to 23 hours a day.

    The flying squirrel is a social animal. They live in families with up to seven males. The whole family, including adults, but cubs that have not yet left their parents, lives in one nest and shares one territory - about one hundred acres. The leader of the group is the alpha male.

    External signs

    Possum, or pygmy flying squirrel, is a very miniature animal. Its body length is from 7 to 23 cm, weight - from 95 to 160 grams. The muzzle of the animal is elongated and slightly pointed. The tail can be very short (6 cm) or very long (50 cm). At its base there are thickenings that are formed due to fat deposits. As a rule, the tail is very fluffy, the fur on it is slightly lighter than on the body. A small body is covered with thick and short hair. Color - yellowish-brown, gray, black. Especially fluffy fur in winter.

    Limbs and head

    Paws five-fingered, short. The hind limbs are better developed than the front ones. The head is small, rounded, blunt. The eyes are large and bulging, black. It has to do with the nocturnal lifestyle. Ears without tassels, rounded.

    Features of the structure

    Perhaps the most characteristic feature of these animals is the membrane that starts from the fifth toes on the front legs and ends on the first toes of the hind limbs. When jumping, the sugar opossum extends its legs to the sides, the membrane stretches, and this allows it to soar through the air for very significant distances (50 meters or more). The direction of flight is controlled by the movements of the tail and paws.

    Possum in the house

    Exotic pets are very interesting, but they require a lot of attention from the owner.

    Possum is a small but extremely active animal. He needs a lot of space. The sugar opossum, whose photo you see in our article, must have its own home. They can be a fairly spacious cage in which the opossum will warm up when he is not allowed to walk around the apartment. For this purpose, an aviary measuring 50 x 50 x 70 cm is suitable. If you get two animals, then, naturally, the cage should be larger.

    Sounds of possums

    We want to warn you right away that these little animals are very talkative creatures. Decided to get a possum? Get ready for more than one sleepless night. Don't be surprised if your pet wants to develop their vocal cords when you are sound asleep. He may plaintively call his fellows or his master to be played with.

    If you have two animals, you will have a great opportunity to observe how they communicate with each other. These animals simply cannot sit and be silent. They make noise when they share food, when they go to bed, jump around the cage.


    An opossum needs company. If you do not want to start a second animal, then you need to take on the role of a friend and companion. Get ready for the fact that you will have to give your pet time for communication and games.

    When the opossum "barks"

    Indeed, this sound is very similar to a dog's barking, but it is more shrill and subtle. It can be heard during the mating season, in addition, the opossum "barks" in case of approaching danger or to force the owner to approach him.


    The opossum uses this sound to scare off enemies. Anyone who has never seen an opossum, but heard this sound, it may seem that this animal is at least twice as large as it actually is.

    Living conditions

    Sugar opossum feels great at home, but certain rules must be followed.

    Clean your pet's cage as often as possible. The tray should be washed every day. If a filler is used, this can be done once a week. The perch and the cage itself should be washed twice a month. This cleaning scheme will help get rid of the unpleasant odor. But do not forget, the more carefully you wash the cage, the more actively the animal will mark it. Do not use chemical products for washing, in extreme cases, baby soap that does not have a smell.

    Sleeping house

    The opossum's cage must have a cozy place to sleep. If there are two animals, then there should be two minks, as they sometimes quarrel and therefore desire solitude. A wooden birdhouse can become a house, the bottom of which should be covered with soft cloths or hay (do not forget to change them regularly). You can sew a soft fabric house yourself. But the material must be durable, for example, fine corduroy. For lining, it is better to use any cotton fabric. Such a house resembles a pouch - its “neck” is slightly tightened with a ribbon and with it it is attached to the cage.

    Learn more