Pet Opossum Legal States

Pet Opossum Legal States: Everything You Need to Know

Opossums, often mistaken for rats due to their long, pink tails, are fascinating marsupials with unique characteristics. They hold the title of North America’s only native marsupial and play a vital role in the ecosystem. But can you keep these intriguing creatures as pets? Let’s delve into the legalities and practicalities of owning an opossum.

Pet Opossum Legal States in the USA

Owning an opossum as a pet is illegal in most states in the USA. This is primarily due to concerns about public health, potential ecological disruption if non-native species are released, and ensuring the welfare of wild animals.

Here are some specific examples:

  • California: Illegal
  • Texas: Illegal
  • Florida: Illegal

There are, however, a few exceptions where permits may be obtainable for educational or research purposes. These permits are rarely granted to private individuals.

It is important to remember that even in states where permits exist, owning an opossum is a significant responsibility. These wild animals require specialized care and can carry diseases transmissible to humans.

  • Is it OK to pet a possum? Generally, it’s not advisable to pet a wild animal, including opossums. They can carry diseases and may feel threatened, leading to bites or scratches.
  • Can a possum be a good pet? Opossums are not domesticated animals and have specific needs that are difficult to replicate in a captive environment. Additionally, their nocturnal habits and potential for carrying diseases make them unsuitable companions for most households.
  • Can I buy a possum? Selling or buying opossums as pets is illegal in most parts of the USA.
  • Are opossums only in America? No, opossums are not exclusive to North America. They can also be found in South America.
  • Can you own a possum in Nevada? Owning an opossum as a pet is illegal in Nevada.
  • Will a possum bite a dog? Opossums are generally non-confrontational and will hiss or play dead to avoid conflict. However, if they feel cornered or threatened, they may bite, including dogs.
  • Do possums like to eat? Absolutely! Opossums are omnivores and have a healthy appetite for insects, fruits, vegetables, and even carrion.
  • Do baby possums bite? While unlikely, any wild animal, including baby opossums, can bite if they feel threatened.
  • Are black possums rare? Black fur is a rare genetic mutation in opossums, but not unheard of. They are not a separate species.
  • What countries have possums? Opossums are primarily found in North and South America. However, due to human introduction, they can also be found in parts of Australia and Asia.
  • Can you touch a possum? It’s best to avoid touching any wild animal, including opossums. They can carry diseases and may react unpredictably.
  • Is a possum rare? Opossums are not considered rare animals. They are actually the most common marsupial in North America.

While opossums are fascinating creatures, it’s important to remember that they are wild animals and not suitable as pets. If you encounter an opossum in your yard, the best course of action is to leave it alone and allow it to go about its business.

Serial NumberStateStatus
8DelawareNeed Permit
9District of ColumbiaIllegal
10FloridaNeed Permit
11GeorgiaNeed Permit
14IllinoisNeed Permit
15IndianaNeed Permit
17KansasNeed Permit
18KentuckyNeed Permit
21MarylandNeed Permit
23MichiganNeed Permit
25MississippiNeed Permit
26MissouriNeed Permit
28NebraskaNeed Permit
29NevadaNeed Permit
30New HampshireIllegal
31New JerseyNeed Permit
32New MexicoNeed Permit
33New YorkNeed Permit
34North CarolinaIllegal
35North DakotaNeed Permit
36OhioNeed Permit
37OklahomaNeed Permit
38OregonNeed Permit
40Rhode IslandIllegal
41South CarolinaNeed Permit
42South DakotaNeed Permit
47VirginiaNeed Permit
49West VirginiaIllegal

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

Is it legal to own a possum in New York?

While New York allows ownership of some exotic marsupials like sugar gliders, wallabies, and kangaroos, possums are not included on this list. Owning a pet opossum remains illegal in New York.

How long do pet opossums live?

In captivity, with proper care and a stress-free environment, opossums can live around eight years. This is nearly triple their lifespan in the wild, where they face various threats like predators and limited food sources.

Can you house train a possum?

While opossums are generally intelligent and can exhibit trainable behaviors, extensive house training may not be practical. Some owners report success with litter box training, but it requires dedication and patience. Remember, opossums are wild animals with natural instincts, and complete house training may not be achievable for all individuals.

Can I own a possum in Washington state?

No, owning an opossum as a pet is illegal in Washington state. Local wildlife regulations strictly prohibit keeping opossums in captivity.


Scroll to Top