Keeping Your New Short-Tail
Pet World Visit
Short-tail opossum exploring his possibilities.
Most short-tail opossums grow about six inches long (pocket-size) plus a four to
six-inch tail. However, unlike
our big, stinky
Their great big black eyes give short-tail opossums a cute face and enable them to
see in the dark. Obviously,
these guys work the night shift.
Their pointed nose makes them look different from a rodent (which
they are not). Short-tail
opossums belong to the marsupial group, although they have no pouch.
Just a bit stand-offish at first, these little guys tame fast.
Once they realize you don’t plan to eat them, you’re half way
there. Coaxing them to eat
from your fingers completes the process.
Room temperature works fine if you keep your room at 70 to 80o.
Their nesting box helps them keep warm while sleeping.
Ten-gallon tanks with clip locks give you excellent access and will
keep these escape artists securely caged. You’ll want to give him lots
of climbing branches. Add a bird box or nest for sleeping quarters.
Put a very small litter box in one corner.
And add a water bottle plus food bowls.
If you keep your short-tail opossum in a bird cage, make sure you lock all the doors.
They get out easily. Best
thing about bird cages: You
can hang all kinds of food bowls, nests, and water bottles on the wires
and thus keep them cleaner. Use
a cage with a big door so you have easy access.
Insectivores, rodent, and fruit eaters in the wild, you’ll need
to give yours a varied diet. Start
with a good cat, ferret or hedgehog food.
Dry foods last a long time unless they get wet.
Your possum will appreciate occasional fruit bits and bites of
boiled eggs. They really love
mealworms and crickets. Feed
these to them by hand. Insects
make them appreciate you all the more. Several types of canned insects can
also be found. Vary their diet
Small amounts of any jarred baby food fruit or yogurt also appeal
to short-tail opossums. Share your grapes with them.
Share your grapes with them.
Give them a good vitamin/calcium supplement. The lizard or bird
products work well. Lightly
dust the supplement on their crickets.
A half pinch of supplement in the crickets’ plastic bag will
suffice. Better to prevent nutritional deficiency than try to cure it.
Water bottles work best in most cases.
They keep your critters from kicking trash into their water and
making a mess. However, young
possums can’t always work a water bottle.
And since dehydration will kill them, you probably want to give
them a dish of applesauce to make sure they get enough water.
Your short-tail opossum will slowly investigate his cage.
Then once he gets used to you, he’ll even stop running from you
if you slip your palm under him instead of grabbing him like a hungry
hawk. Don’t be fooled.
These guys can move fast when motivated.
Just watch them chase a cricket.
And watch how fast they grab a bug out of your fingers.
You won’t believe it.
Start taming your new short-tail opossum as soon as you get him or
Finger-fed crickets or mealworms will please them every time.
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