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Caring for Baby Opossums

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Keep Them Warm & Hydrated

The first thing you need to do is make sure babies are warmed up before trying to feed them anything. You can do this by wrapping them in t-shirt material or fleece (don’t use towels because they may get caught on the loops) and putting a heating pad on low underneath one side of their enclosure. You can also use a plastic water bottle filled with hot water and wrapped in a cloth, or a sock filled with rice and microwaved. Then, before feeding formula, you need to make sure they’re hydrated. Start by giving them diluted, unflavored Pedialyte for 12-24 hours before attempting to feed them anything else.

Formula

After they’ve been properly hydrated, you can begin giving them diluted formula and then slowly move up to regular strength over the next few days so they can adjust to the food. For infants under 40 grams, make the formula with 1 part formula to 5 parts water and slowly work them up to 1 part formula to 2 parts water. For very small babies, use 1 part formula to 10 parts water. 

To make the formula, you will need:

  • Bottled Spring Water
  • Goat’s Milk Esbilac Puppy Formula
  • Calcium Glubionate Syrup
  • Boiled egg yolk or powdered egg yolk
  • Brewer’s Yeast
  • Unsweetened apple juice
  • Nutrical
  • Lactaid

Mix 1/3 Esbilac formula and 1 cup spring water for regular strength formula. Add 200 mg of Calcium Glubionate Syrup, ½ medium boiled egg yolk (or powdered egg yolk for a smoother formula), 1/2 tsp powdered brewer’s yeast, 2 tsp unsweetened apple juice, 1 tsp of Nutrical, and Lactaid (use the directions on the bottle to mix the right amount for the amount of formula you’re making). Make sure to refrigerate the prepared formula for 12 hours before feeding it so the Lactaid works properly. 

Use the following chart to determine how much and how often to feed your opossum based on their weight:




Weight

Amount

Frequency

10 g

.5 ml

Every 2-3 hrs

15 g

.75 ml

Every 2-3 hrs

20 g

1 ml

Every 2-3 hrs

25 g

1.25 ml

Every 2-3 hrs

30 g

1.5 ml

Every 2-3 hrs

35 g

1.75 ml

Every 2-3 hrs

40 g

2 ml

Every 4 hrs

45 g

2.25 ml

Every 4 hrs

50 g

2.5 ml

Every 4 hrs

55 g

2.75 ml

Every 4 hrs

60 g

3 ml

Every 6 hrs

65 g

3.25 ml

Every 6 hrs

70 g

3.5 ml

Every 6 hrs

75 g

4 ml

Every 6 hrs

80 - 85 g

4.25 ml

Every 6 hrs

90 g

4.5 ml

Every 6 hrs

95 g

4.75 ml

Every 6 hrs

100 g

5 ml

Every 6 hrs

‚ÄčFeeding & Elimination

Young babies will not be able to feed themselves, so it’s best to feed them by using a dropper or syringe. Once they are able to lap up food themselves (usually once they’re 40-50 g), you can give them a shallow bowl of formula to encourage self-feeding. They will be messy at this stage, so make sure to do this in an area that can be easily cleaned.  

You will also need to stimulate them to eliminate waste, as they are unable to do this on their own as babies. You can do this either before or after feeding, by using a warm wet cotton ball to gently stroke the genital area towards the tail until urine or feces is produced. Keep doing so until they are completely done. This action simulates the mother’s tongue, and is very important for preventing a ruptured bladder. 

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Please Note: Exotic Nutrition is not in a position to provide specific health and care guidelines on an individual basis. Please visit our animal info tabs or consider purchasing a care guide book for additional information. If you have a health or pet emergency issue, please notify your veterinarian or a specialized technician.

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