Opossums breed two or three times each year, from February through September. The average litter contains six to nine babies. Opossums remain in the mother’s pouch until they are 2 months old. Between two and four months of age, they may ride on the mother’s back and are dependent on the mother for help in finding food and shelter.
If you find a baby opossum:
- Is the opossum injured (bleeding, broken bones, wounds, deformity, etc.)?
- If YES, contact your nearest veterinarian that is capable of and willing to see wildlife patients (always call the veterinarian prior to bringing wildlife to the hospital) or rehabilitator for treatment.
- If NO, opossums that are at least 8“ long from tip of nose to the base of the tail (do not include the tail) and weigh more than 7.25 ounces or 200 grams are old enough to survive on their own in the wild and do not need human intervention. If the opossum does not meet these criteria, see below.
- Is the opossum fully furred with its eyes opened?
- If YES, but does not meet the size requirement for release, and is between two and three and a half months old and weighs 40-190 grams (1.5-7 ounces) contact a state licensed wildlife rehabilitator immediately. Opossum babies are often found crawling around next to their dead mother and will not survive at this age without human care.
- If NO, the baby needs immediate assistance. Contact a state licensed wildlife rehabilitator or wildlife veterinarian immediately. Babies separated from their mother at this stage have a slimmer chance of survival.
If a wild animal has been injured or truly orphaned, locate a licensed wildlife rehabilitator by calling the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ toll-free wildlife conflict helpline at 1-855-571-9003, 8:00AM-4:30PM, Monday through Friday or visit the licensed wildlife rehabilitator section of this website.