Birthing: February-July; up to 13 babies

Eyes opened: 60 days

Weaning (beg-end): 10-12 weeks

Active: Nighttime; year-round

Diet: Carrion, insects, fruit, garden crops


Opossums are migratory rather than territorial. They carry their babies with them when they go out or move on. Only when the babies get older might a mother leave the babies behind while she searches for food. Opossums are timid and not aggressive, but if cornered or afraid they can give a painful bite. They have more teeth than any other mammal. Opossums eat ticks, grubs and other insects.

Opossums FAQ’s

I found baby opossums? What should I do?
If a mother opossum is killed, she should be checked for babies in her pouch or clinging to her and they should be removed immediately. Call the Helpline immediately to get the name of a rehabilitator.
When do I know a baby can be away from it's mother?
Opossums normally stay with their mother for about a year. Mothers do not retrieve their babies. If the opossum is less than 10 inches long (not including tail), it must go to a rehabilitator. However, any opossum that is 10 inches long, healthy and uninjured can be left alone. Place it under a shrub away from cats and dogs.
How do I handle an injured adult opossum?
Injured adults should be placed in a box by moving it with a big towel and garden gloves, shovel, or other instrument (do not pick up with hands) and transported to a rehabilitator.
Where might opossums live?
Opossums will take over old groundhog or skunk dens.

More about opossums

Rehabilitators, Our Unsung Heroes: Karen Brace

Meet Karen Brace, a wildlife rehabilitator and founder of Awesome ‘Possumz from Fredricksburg, VA. She lives on 12 acres at the end of a gravel road where she releases many of the squirrels, bunnies, and opossums she rehabilitates.

Meet Lou Lou the opossum

Lou Lou is a very special girl! She came to Karen Brace, of Awesome Possumz, from another rehabilitator after she was hit by a car about eight weeks ago. Her right eye is damaged, she has very little vision in the other eye, she has a broken bottom canine tooth and......

If you are not certain what to do, call the wildlife Helpline: 703-440-0800

If you live outside Northern Virginia, please see the Resources Page for assistance.

Wildlife Rescue League - Viriginia
Wildlife Helpline 703-440-0800