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An instinct to care for other people and animals that are in need is something that is found in any compassionate person, and finding a baby animal can make people want to take immediate action to try and help the situation. Baby opossums are also amazingly cute, whether they are pink and hairless having just been born, or they are starting to grow their own fur and are inquisitive about their surroundings. The natural instinct if you come across a vulnerable animal is to try and pick it up and take it home so that you can feed and water the animal, but is this really the right course of action?
Why You Shouldn't Feed The Animal
One of the biggest problems with baby animals such as opossums is that the nutritional content of a mother's milk is very specific and is designed so that the baby can digest the nutrients and pass any waste very easily. Many people will look to use puppy or kitten milk replacement to try and feed the animal, but if you find an orphaned animal it is usually best not to feed it in case you do more harm than good. Cow's milk is quite toxic to a baby opossum, so that should certainly be avoided, while almost everything found in the domestic home is not able to be passed by a baby opossum.
We can answer: Should I Hire A Professional Or Remove Opossums Myself?
Try To Reunite The Baby With Its Mother
Although the natural instinct when you find a baby opossum is to pick it up and to try and keep it safe, the best steps that you can take is to give the mother a chance to recover her baby, as it may have climbed out or fallen out of her pouch. Make sure that the baby is safe and generally appears to be healthy and alert, and then back off to a safe distance to see if the mother returns. If she hasn't returned after two hours, then you may need to start taking the right steps to help the animal.
Find out Why Do Opossums Play Dead?
Getting The Baby Opossum To A Wildlife Rehabilitator
There are specialist skills required to heal and raise a baby opossum, and your first step should be to contact your local veterinarian or your local wildlife department to find a wildlife rehabilitator. They will be able to give you guidelines for any first aid required, and can then guide you on how to transport the animal to the rehabilitator. For more information, you may want to click on one of these guides that I wrote:
How much does opossum removal cost? - get the lowdown on prices.
How to get rid of opossums - my main opossum removal info guide.
Example opossum trapping photographs - get do-it-yourself ideas.
Opossum job blog - learn from great examples of opossum jobs I've done.
Should I Feed A Baby Opossum I Found?