Short Tailed Opossums or STO as they are known in short, are very small, cute creatures that are known to make excellent pets. They’re fascinating because they’re not your usual home pets and have very distinct individual personalities. Although many people think that this is a spelling error and that we actually meant possums, these two marsupials are actually very different from each other and are only distantly related within the same sub class.
If you are planning on buying or getting a STO as a pet, here are a few details that you should know about them. Firstly, they are great escape artists and if you want to see your STO the next day, you should ensure that they are kept within a secured enclosure. Crate a nice bedding for them using fresh care litter, corn cob and a nest box with materials like cotton and shredded paper to ensure their comfort. They are solitary animals however, and it is highly recommended that you do not place two STO’s in the same cage thinking that they may want company. It’s more than likely that you will find one STO injured or dead the next morning.
They are nocturnal animals, so they may not be active to play with you and your family during the day. They will most likely be sleeping and start getting active as night falls, so perhaps you can schedule your interaction time with your STO during the evening. They may like to climb on you and you may be able to hold them, but you should allow them to get used to you first. As the saying goes, ‘never talk to strangers’ – the STOs follow that. They are wary of strangers and you should let them smell you so they get familiar with your scent.
Unless you want to get bitten accidentally, always wash your hands with mild soap to remove any food residue or scent of food so that they don’t think that your fingers are food. If they are scared they may show their 50 teeth, but they very rarely bite. They can eat a lot of foods – like vegetables, breads, crickets, mealworms, fruits and pinkie mice. If you feel squeamish about offering crickets, you can opt for high quality cat food, STO feed or ferret food.
They are very sociable animals and make good pets as they are curious in nature. However, young STOs should be housed separately by the time they are 9 weeks old.
If you are planning to sell your Short Tailed Opossum, you should sell them between the ages of 3 – 4 months of age as this will allow them to become familiar with the new owner and become loving and friendly pets. Even though 3 – 4 months of age is considered to be the best age to sell or acquire a Short Tailed Possum, you can acquire an adult STO, but they will need a longer adjustment period.
STOs were imported in North America in the 1980’s for scientific research in laboratories. It didn’t take long for a few hobbyists to find out how unique these creatures actually were and the species soon made its way into the Pet Trade. It was only during the 1990’s that the popularity picked up in the Short tailed Opossums and breeders began to promote them as ‘Pocket Pets’ due to their small size. They are still considered to be rare in captivity but the popularity of having them as pets has picked up over the years. However, if you are planning to buy or sell your Opossum, you should be very selective on where you buy/ sell it to so that your Opossum has a loving home to go to.