What to do if you find an opossum 

You found an opossum in your yard? Opossums are shy, non-aggressive creatures who have the misfortune of scaring people due to their rather odd appearance. They are not fierce at all, and they actually have little ability to defend themselves. They don’t run fast or fight well, so their best defense is scary off attackers. They may hiss, drool but it’s all a big bluff. And if the bluff does not work- they play dead. That’s right they play possum! They may drive your dog crazy; however, they are great at pest control keeping bugs, small snakes and even rats away from your home. 

Contact SPCA Tampa Bay’s wildlife team at 727-586-3592 for assistance and questions. 

Found an opossum in a tree or your yard: This is normal behavior. Opossums are typically active in the morning when the sun is coming up and at sundown. 

Opossums rarely get rabies. If the opossum is hissing and acting in a way similar to the above description and has it’s mouth open showing all it’s teeth… remember it’s a bluff to scare you or your pet away. It’s best for you and your pet to head inside and in a matter of time the opossum will go about on it’s way. 

You found a baby opossum alone: Baby opossums stay in their mother’s pouch until they’re about 2.5 months old and the size of a mouse. As this age, they ride on their mother’s back and can sometimes fall off without mom noticing. 

If the baby opossum is fewer than 7 inches long (don’t include the tail), it is too young to be on it’s own. Contact SPCA Tampa Bay at the number on this page.