Skip to main content
San Diego Humane Society

Opossums: Coexisting with Wildlife

What to do if you find:

Injured Adult Opossum
  • Cover the animal with a towel, and put them in a box or crate while wearing gloves or other protective equipment.
  • Do not feed or give it water.
  • Bring the animal into a licensed rehabilitation center like Project Wildlife as soon as possible.
Injured Baby Opossum
  • Put the animal in a box and keep them warm. If using a heating pad underneath the box, place half of the box on the heat source with the other half left off, as babies can overheat. Give them something to hide under such as a t-shirt or towel. 
  • Place them in a dark, quiet room.
  • Do not feed them or give them water.
  • Do not give them cow's milk.
  • Bring the animal into a licensed rehabilitation center like Project Wildlife as soon as possible.

Food & Water

Do not feed opossums.  They need special diets and their conditions can worsen when fed improperly.

Coexisting with Opossums:

Opossums are often mistaken for rats, but they are not rodents at all -- they are marsupials like kangaroos and koala bears! They are not aggressive toward humans or pets, but they will attempt to defend themselves if cornered. They are also relatively disease-free, as it is nearly impossible for them to carry rabies, parvovirus or distemper. As omnivores, they are actually an excellent animal to have around your property because they eat rats, mice, snails, slugs and insects, as well as rotten fruit and vegetables -- they can even eat rattlesnakes and ticks!

Opossums are nocturnal, which means they're much more active at night and typically spend most of the day in their dens. However, it is not uncommon to see them wandering around during the day in search of food, shelter or potential mates, depending on the year. They are excellent climbers and use all their hands, feet and tail to grasp.

pwl_mast_possum.jpg

  • Was this article helpful?