POSITION STATEMENTS OF THE NATIONAL OPOSSUM SOCIETY

These are provided to create a better understanding of the official position of the N.O.S. with regard to numerous issues affecting opossums.

  1. General
    1. Where possible, they should be returned to the environment.
    2. If one is unable to insure that the animal will have a reasonable chance of survival in the environment, the opossum might be:
      1. adapted by a suitable family if sufficient socialization is possible, and future total care is assured by the family.
      2. released into a secure yard or home care with qualified individuals, if socialization isn't possible, and total future care is assured by the individual.
  2. Orphan Care
    1. The public, in general, should not raise orphans. Experienced individuals are available either to provide direct care, or in close, continued consultation with the care-giver.
    2. Orphan care-givers should:
      1. be formally trained by experienced individuals
      2. provide follow-through to release of the infant into the environment.
    3. Infant formula and diet recommendations are provided by NOS.
    4. Surrogate mother opossums may be used where available- given appropriate procedures are followed- and:
      1. the mother is significantly handicapped and non- releasable.
      2. the mother is provided total care for her life time after serving as surrogate.
        NOTE: NOS is opposed to exploitation of one animal for the benefit of another, including infants, except where that animal's needs and welfare are also of major concern.
      3. Healthy, normal, mobile females should be released, rather than confined for surrogacy.
  3. Medical Care for Any Ill/Injured Opossum
    1. Opossums should receive care from:
      1. veterinarians experienced with opossums and their disorders -OR-
      2. veterinarians in consult with another having this expertise.
    2. Veterinarians are encouraged to provide care for all injured/ill opossums. Unlike some species, opossums are, more often than not, able to recover from seemingly fatal problems. In addition to saving a life, we add to our knowledge of the animal.
    3. Individuals, groups, and agencies are encouraged to help support the care of ill/injured opossums through donations for their medical supplies and food, or through organized volunteer efforts.

A WORD ON OPOSSUMS IN RESEARCH FACILITIES

The National Opossum Society exists for the benefit and improvement in care of the Didelphis genus, particularly Didelphis virginiana and Didelphis marsupialis.

Within institutions such as universities where opossums are kept captive for research projects of questionable value, they are rarely given the most basic care they require to live healthy lives. Their habitat requirements are not met at all in "pure" research. Wildlife experiences extreme stress under these circumstances, and thus are not going to remain healthy for long.

The National Opossum Society supports clinical research that strives to improve the health of the Didelphis genus or the individual opossum. Other research that intends to extrapolate data to benefit another species is not endorsed or supported in any way.

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