Opossum: Didelphis virginiana


Florida's only marsupial (a mammal of the order Marsupialia having a pouch containing the mammary glands and serving as a receptacle for the young) is the Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana).   Opossums are about the size of a house cat, have long naked tails and small ears.


Opossums are attracted to virtually any type of available food, including garbage, pet food, or cultivated fruits and vegetables.  To prevent attraction of opossums garbage cans should be secured with rubber straps, and pet food should be taken in at night.


A landowner may lawfully live-trap nuisance opossums using sardines or cat food as effective bait. Live-captured nuisance opossums must be released or euthanized within 24 hours of capture or trap inspection.  In addition, nuisance opossums may be transported and released at an off-site location that is within the county of capture and a minimum of 40 contiguous acres if the releaser has written permission from the owner of the release site; and the transportation of the wildlife does not violate any rabies alert or area quarantine issued by a county health department or county animal service. Relocating wildlife is seldom biologically sound, the animal often does not survive.

You can receive technical assistance for opossum problems by contacting the FWC regional office nearest you.

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FWC Facts:
A 2011 survey showed that 49 percent of residents and 47 percent of tourists participate in wildlife-viewing trips in Florida.

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