I have rescued possums before but this is the first full grown opossum I took in. She was skinny unlike the one I have now for 3 years and healthy. I would not normally take in a grown animal like this, but she looks like she hasn't eaten for a while.

I have put all the recommended foods in a cage for her, but she won't eat. I understand that they eat everything so why the hunger strike? Will she starve or eventually eat for self preservation?

Where I live if you can hunt them you can breed them for livestock or what ever. Some places have no regulation unless the species is endangered which this one is not.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEVL0xuJuPQ Possum Snuggle.

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    $\begingroup$ Please do not try to keep a wild animal as a pet as someone untrained. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Mar 19, 2019 at 4:16
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    $\begingroup$ "But while possums thrive in the wild, examples of these creatures surviving in captivity are rare. Another point is that it is illegal to keep possums without a wildlife rehabilitation permit. [...] Vets don’t have the experience to deal with their health issues." animalwised.com/… $\endgroup$ Mar 20, 2019 at 2:16
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    $\begingroup$ @BryanKrause revised. $\endgroup$
    – Muze
    Mar 20, 2019 at 2:43
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    $\begingroup$ note there is no state in the US that does not have some regulations concerning keeping opossums as pets. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Mar 20, 2019 at 4:05
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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the frame for this question makes it seem like it is about how to care for a wild opossum or predict a specific animal's behavior. If you can edit this to make it clear it the title is the actual question (why do wild animals not eat in captivity), and include your research, I will retract my close vote. $\endgroup$
    – De Novo
    Mar 20, 2019 at 4:09

1 Answer 1


Many wild animals will not eat in captivity because they are under stress, few mammals react well to captivity. weird smells and sounds, restricted movement, inability to hide, there are dozens of stressful aspects to captivity that trigger the flight or fight response for small mammals. Lack of appetite is a common stress response in mammals and even when very hungry they are often more focused on escape than feeding. This is one reason keeping wild mammals as pets is regulated in every US state, and is highly discouraged, you are basically killing the animals slowly.

In opossums and many mammals lack of appetite is also one of the early signs of rabies infection, so yet another reason laypersons are discouraged from trying to keep wild opossums as pets.

Source 1

Source 2

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    $\begingroup$ If it doesn't answer your question then I have no idea what you are trying to ask, If you are asking for a specific diagnosis for one individual that is very off topic. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Mar 20, 2019 at 17:44

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