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Description: A mature Short Tailed Opossum will reach a body length of about 4" - 6" (10 - 15 cm) with a tail that is about 1 1/2" - 3" (4 - 7.5 cm) and will weigh between 2 - 5 ozs (60 - 150 g). The males are about 25% larger than the females. The fur is a thick velvety gray-brown on top with a lighter tone underneath. They have a hairless prehensile tail used to grasp and balance while climbing. It is also great for carrying nesting materials and other things, but it is not weight bearing. They have a muzzle quite like a rat, with very sharp teeth. Their ears are large, very thin skinned, and sensitive to sound and their eyes bulge out giving them good night vision. The front legs are shorter than the hind legs. They have a life span of about 4 to 8 years. Babies are born premature, pink, and hairless. They are helpless, latching on to a nipple on their mothers stomach where they will stay until they are further developed.
Environment: The Short Tailed Opossum is an escape artist, and must be kept in a secure enclosure. A 10 gallon or larger aquarium with a secure lid or a narrow-mess wire cage work well. Provide corn cob, Care Fresh litter, or shavings (though not cedar) for bedding and a nest box with some nesting materials such as cotton or shredded paper. For exercise and entertainment they will need things to climb on such as branches, ropes, or parrot ladders, and you can also give them a small hamster wheel. For some fun you can include such things as clay flowerpots, pvc tubes, and other places for them to hide. They need a draft free warm environment. Keep the temperature between 68° - 88° F. and at least a 50% humidity, a little on the warmer side is best for mothers with babies. They are neat clean little critters and will usually pick a corner of their enclosure for a bathroom. They can even be trained to use a litter-box, which makes cage cleaning much easier. Short Tailed Opossums are basically odor-free and their cage only needs to be cleaned about once a week.
Care and feeding: Provide your Short Tailed Opossum with fresh water daily in a water bottle. For younger opossums that are not too strong, one without a steel ball works best. In the wild they eat insects, fruits, and vegetable matter. You can provide them a similar diet by offering mealworms, crickets, pinkie mice, fruits, vegetables, and breads. You can also offer them a high quality food, such as Exotic Nutrition's Opossum Complete diet. Supplement this by offering treats of crickets or mealworms a couple times a week as well as small amounts of fruits and vegetables. Other treats can include such things as super worms, dried insects, canned insects, hard boiled egg, scrambled egg, tuna, canned cat food, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruits need to be cut up into small pieces so they can pick them up easily. Some quick and easy fruit options are the small Mott's Applesauce; Mixed Berry, Strawberry, or Tropical Blend fruit cups; or baby foods.
Social Behaviors: A Short Tailed Opossum can become a friendly docile pet that can easily be handled by people and is curious, active, and entertaining. Because they are naturally solitary animals, they should be housed individually. The only time they should be put together with other opossums is when they are being bred, and then for only a short time. Cage mates will eventually become aggressive toward one another, possibly killing each other. Young opossums should be housed separately by the time they reach 9 weeks of age.
Handling and Training: If handled from a young age, a Short Tailed Opossum can become a loving gentle pet that generally will not bite. A good age to acquire your pet is between 3 and 4 months of age, though even some adults will adjust to being handled. They are friendly and inquisitive. Both males and females make equally good pets.
Activities - Exercise and Play: The Short Tailed Opossum is nocturnal, meaning it is active at night. Be sure to give it lots of things to climb and perch on, such as branches, parrot ladders, and ropes. They will also enjoy a hamster wheel to run on.
Breeding/Reproduction: Short Tailed possums are sexually mature at about 4 to 5 months of age. They will breed in any season, and can have up to 4 litters a year. When you introduce a pair, only keep them together for about 12 days. The gestation period is about two weeks and the female will have a litter size of up to about 13 babies. Unlike most marsupials, the female does not have a pouch so the new born babies, pink and hairless, will firmly attach themselves to a nipple on their mother's stomach. The mother will spend the majority of her time in the nest. At about 4 weeks of age, they young will begin to wander about the nest. They will cling to the fur on their mothers back and ride around with her when ever she leaves the nest. They will be weaned at about 8 weeks of age. Sometimes there can be up to 16 babies, but when the mother only has 13 nipples, babies that did not attach will not survive. Also, if a baby becomes detached, the nipple is enlarged and the baby will be unable to re-attach.
Ailments/Treatments: Short Tail Opossums are very hardy little creatures. However, if not taken care of properly they can become ill. Most ailments are preventable simply from taking proper care of the animal. One reported health problem that can occasionally occur is a prolapse. You can treat your pet with ivermectin twice a year to help prevent this, but be sure to check with you veterinarian for this and any other illnesses.
Availability/Purchasing your Short Tailed Opossum: Find a reputable breeder or retailer to purchase from. It is best to get one that is fairly young - between 3 and 4 months of age. One thing to take into consideration before you decide to purchase your Short Tailed Opossum is does your veterinarian treat exotic pets? Not all vets do, so you might want to check and make sure that there is a vet in your area that will treat your pet in case he gets sick.
Exotic Nutrition™ supports legitimate scientific research projects with financial donations to help advance the health and well-being of Sugar Gliders and other exotic mammals. A percentage of the profit from sales goes toward funding of these scientific projects. We hope you will join us in our quest to advance research in the exotic mammal health care fields.
The Exotic Nutrition Pet Company specializes in the manufacture and distribution of exotic mammal feeds, supplements, and accessories. Our facility is located in Southeastern Virginia.
We have always prided ourselves in meeting the needs of our exotic mammal friends when they are kept in captivity, and have always strived to bring the finest quality animal diets and accessories to conscience pet owners worldwide. Ensuring the health and well-being of your captive exotic is our main concern.
We are, and will continue to be, a company whose objective is to deliver the best possible products and services at an affordable price. Our company stands behind the products that we manufacture, and continuously monitors quality and freshness to offer you, and your pets, the highest quality foods, supplements, and accessories for exotics available.
Some of the Colleges and Institutions that use our products ....
Bucknell University /PA * University of Louisville Stony Brook University/NY * Peel Zoo / Australia * University of Maryland * UCLA /Lab Animal Research * Jungle Island / Miami Fl. * Kansas City Zoo / MO * National Aquarium Baltimore * United States Center for Disease Control * Heritage Park Zoo / AZ * University of Rhode Island * Missouri State University * PETA / Norfolk VA. * University of Louisiana * Broadbent Wildlife Sanctuary /Ky * University of Montreal * Big Cat Habitat & Santuary / FL * University of Kentucky * Port Defiance Zoo & Aquarium / WA * Big Bend Wildlife Sanctuary / AL * Americas Teaching Zoo / CA * Harvard University / Cambridge MA * University of British Columbia / Canada * Washington State University * University of Kansas Med Center Lab Animal * University of Pennsylvania * Heritage Park Zoological Association * Sunset Zoo / Manhattan KS. * Baton Rouge Zoo / LA * Humane Animal Welfare Society / WI * Guadeloupe Zoo / West Indies * Utica Zoo of Utica / NY * Liberty Science Center / Animal Husbandry * Roos-N-More Zoo / NV * Shedd Aquarium / Chicago * NC Aquarium / Roanoke Island * Blue Ridge Wildlife Center / VA * Seoul National University / Bio. Science * Thüringer Zoopark / Germany * Guadeloupe Zoo / France * Sea World / San Diego * Pittsburg State University * Native Animal Rescue / CA * Humane Society of Washington County / MD * Arizona State University Animal Care * Foothills Wildlife Research Facility / CO * Zoo Atlanta * UCLA * Indian Creek Zoo / MI * North East Ohio Medical University * University of Rochester * University of Arizona / Department of Entomology * Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge / FL * Charlotte Nature Museum / NC * San Diego Zoo / Safari Park * Veterinary Care Specialists / MI * Highlands Nature Sanctuary / OH * Shearwaters Kauai Humane Society / HI * Virginia Aquarium Virginia Beach Va. * The Wildlife Conservation and Education Center NJ * El Paso Zoo / TX * Atlantic City Aquarium / NJ * LSU School of Veterinary Medicine * Animal Medical Center of Forney / TX * Squirrel Creek Wildlife Rescue / CO * American Museum of Natural History NY * University of California / Qureshely Research Lab * Sea World (Bird Dept.) San Diego, CA * Dakota Zoo / Bismark, ND * Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society / Canada * Black Pine Animal Sanctuary / IN * Eastern Wyoming College * Alexandria Zoological Park / LA * Tanganika Wildlife Park / KS * Tupelo Buffalo Park & Zoo, MS * Edenton National Fish Hatchery * Penn State University /Biology Dept * University of Western Ontario * Pocono Snake & Animal Farm * Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center * Department of Biological Sciences Texas Tech University * Yosemite National Park * Pocono Snake & Animal Farm / PA * Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine /St.Kitts * Pittsburg State University(KS)/Biology Dept * University of Missouri / Veterinary * Texas Tech University * Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium * Purdue University / Biology Dept. * El Paso Zoo / El Paso TX * Hutchinson Zoo / KS * Northeastern University * Sandy Bottom Nature Park / Hampton Va. * University of Kansas /Lab Animal Resources *Virginia Zoo / Norfolk Va.