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How to Tame a Pet Opossum

| Updated September 26, 2017

How to Tame a Pet Opossum. Most prospective opossum owners are surprised when they find out just how easily it is to tame and train this animal. Opossums can not only be housebroken, but they can be taught to come when they are called and to even sit on your shoulder as you walk around. With a little patience and a calm demeanor, you should be able to tame a pet opossum. Read on to learn more.

Tame a Pet Opossum

Start by sticking your hand into the cage or enclosure where you keep the pet opossum. Initially, the opossum will open its mouth, bare its teeth and possibly make a snorting sound. While this may seem like an attack stance, opossums usually only bite if you corner them or grab at them. Keep your hand on the opposite side of the enclosure and wait for the opossum to calm down and get used to the presence of your hand.

Wait for the opossum to come over and sniff your hand. This may take a few minutes, or require a few more attempts at a later time, but opossums are generally such curious animals that they will eventually come over and approach you. Just make sure you don't make any sudden movements or noises that may startle it.

Take the next step and start slowly petting your opossum's back after he is used to the presence of your hand in its enclosure. Continue to move slowly and steadily, taking pains not to startle your pet.

Take the opossum and gently pick it up, making sure you do not move too quickly. Opossums are generally slow-moving animals, and standing up quickly after you pick it up can make it feel like it's being shot out of a catapult. Make sure you do not grab the opossum by the waist and leave its feet sticking in the air. Let your pet rest its feet in the crook of your arm so that it can feel safe and properly supported.

Allow your pet opossum to sit in your lap and eventually crawl onto your shoulders and arms, which is its nature. Once you have gotten to this point, you will truly have a tame pet opossum.


  • Offering tidbits such as mealworms or live crickets to your pet opossum by hand is an excellent way to get them to bond with you during the time you are trying to tame them.