The Short Tailed Opossum (Monodelphis domestica) is a nocturnal marsupial naturally from South America. They are called Brazilian/South American Short Tailed Opossum or Rainforest/Brazilian Opossum and are incorrectly called Pygmy/Dwarf Opossums (this is an entirely different and more rare species, not in the pet trade).
They were brought to the USA from Brazil in 1978, and finally came into the pet trade in 1994. They reach about six inches long (plus a four to six inch tail) and 35 grams. Unfortunatly they only live for about five years in captivity, sometimes even ten. They have a prehensile tail that they use to grasp branches (and fingers) for stability while climbing.
Is the Short Tailed Opossum Right For You?
Questions to Ask Yourself:
The main reason most pets are given up is from a lack of knowledge, in turn having something unexpected that doesn't fit right into ones life. The following questions to ask yourself about STO's should lead you in the right direction on whether or not a STO is the right pet for you.
-Can you afford a STO? You will need to buy a cage, cage accessories and food which will cost you about $80 initially depending on how you go about it as well as the STO itself. Also if your STO gets sick you must think about the vet bills.
-Will you be able to provide high quality food & water daily?
-Will you be able to clean the cage regularly (spot clean daily, total clean weekly)?
-Will you be able to handle getting bitten? Keep in mind that all animals can bite.
-Will you be able to play with your Chipmunk daily to provide enrichment and keep it friendly?
-Will you be able to keep handling your Chipmunk even if it gets grumpy to help make it more/keep it friendly?
-Can you handle their life expectancy of about five years?
-Are you okay with the fact that the STO will sleep all day and play late at night?
-Can you handle getting eliminated on?
-Can you handle smelly poo? (Daily spot cleaning will avoid odor).
-Will you be able to keep handling your STO even if it gets grumpy to help make it more/keep it friendly?
-Can you handle any health problems that may arise and take it to the vet as with any animal?
-Can you handle your STO possibly never being cuddly or seeking your affection? Some do, some don't, it all depends on the individual STO.
STO as Pets
They are cute, curious, personable, cleanly and easy going making them rise in popularity in the US. They are a solitary animal and need to be kept singly. STO's very in personality, some are cuddly and love attention and being petted. Some love sleeping in their owners laps and pockets. Some are energetic and love to climb all over their owners. Some just rather be by themselves in their cages all the time. Something really cute about STO's is that they will carry nesting material in their prehensile tails! It is adorable as well as entertaining to watch!
In my opinion there is no difference in personality when it comes to the gender of STO. It all depends on the individual.
Please click on the links below to find out about the topic:
Nutrition, Feeding & Supplementation - What to feed STO and the supplements they need to live a long, happy life!
Habitat & Enrichment - STO caging requirements, what bedding, toys and accessories to use.
Grooming - Grooming your STO
Breeding & Raising Babies - How to select healthy breeders, the cage, mating, pregnancy, raising, taming & weaning babies.
Health Concerns - Catching health problems early, common STO ailments & signs of when to take your STO to the vet.
Before You Bring Your STO Home & Beyond - Essentials to get before bringing a STO home, care for the first few days and STOs care schedule.
Resources & Websites