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Injured or orphaned opossums

If the opossum has an obvious injury, is bleeding, feels cold or looks sick, or the animal is attempting to move away but is falling over, or if you find babies clinging to or near a deceased parent these animals needs immediate help. Please review our Emergency Care information.

If the animal is not injured, please review this information to further determine whether your wild animal needs assistance.

A relatively new wildlife visitor to the Minnesota area is the opossum. They have migrated here from the South, and are adapting to our colder climate and our snow. Opossums are the only native marsupial in North America. Soon after birth the babies must make their way to their mother’s pouch, attach themselves to a nipple in the pouch and remain there for approximately 60 days to complete their development. In two months the babies are furred, and they are able to nurse from their mother outside the pouch, they either run along beside her or ride on her back. As their intake of natural food increases, their dependency on mom decreases.

Unlike many wildlife families, opossums are not territorial and do not maintain separate home ranges. They are solitary wanderers and rarely remain in one area for any great length of time. An opossum seen in your area one day, if left alone, will probably move on in a day or two.

Opossums are helpful to man in that they are omnivorous and eat most anything, including carrion, making them helpful scavengers of road kills. They also eat grubs, worms, crayfish, bird eggs, etc. They complete their diets by eating grass, corn, wild grapes, and other vegetation. About 65% of their diet consists of meat, mostly carrion, making them efficient little garbage disposals. The other 35% of their diet consists of plant material.

Should an opossum come into your yard or territory, the best advice is to keep your children and your domestic animals away from it, leave it alone, and it will leave your area. In most situations it is just wandering through to another destination. To prevent them from hanging around be sure that all food sources, such as garbage and pet food, are removed or secured in metal cans with lockable lids.

It is illegal to keep a wild animal as a pet. These animals should always be returned to the original location where they were found.

Animal Humane Society's Golden Valley location provides care for all wild animals except skunks. We will provide phone advice for skunk situations. Please bring your wild animal directly to the Golden Valley location. If you need further advice or assistance you may call the Wildlife Exam at (763) 489-2223.