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Care Sheet - Baby Possums


From "Raising Baby Animals" by Donna Roell, OAAO Trustee

Formula:    A.  1 can evaporated milk, 1 can water, 1 large egg yolk
                   B.  1 cup 2% milk, 2 egg yolks, pet vitamins, 1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt (always use same flavor)

Always add calcium supplement. Possums frequently have calcium deficiencies which cause deformities.

Baby cereal (oatmeal/HiPro/rice) to thicken formula.

Tip: Babies have difficulty sucking from a pet nurser; a medicine dropper or latex dropper is usually better.  46 days or younger, a monoject glue syringe is better (can get at craft stores).

Feeding:    Almost impossible to feed if less than 46 days old, mouth is sealed too tightly to allow a feeder to penetrate.
                    46-56 days:  1/2 - 1cc every 2 hrs around clock
                    56-68 days: 1-2cc every 3 hrs throughout day
                    68-76 days: several cc's every 4 hrs.
                 After they are all fed, offer them food again. When full, they will stop fussing and settle down. As they start on solid food, baby food fruit or mashed fruit may be added to cereal; but fruit should never exceed 10% of diet.
                 Also, start adding dog food

Housing:   Need to be kept warm. I keep mine in a plastic garbage can as long as possible. If you use a cage with a wire bottom, put towels on bottom to snuggle in and protect feet from wire bottoms. Very clever about opening doors, keep good lock on it! Boxes don't last long and they are out of them.

Favorite foods:    Dog or cat food
                    Bananas
                    Apples/applesauce
                    Cheese/cottage cheese
                    Chicken
                    Watermelon

Tip:             If they get out in the house, they will usually find their way back to where they are fed after dark.

FIRST AID:

If baby is cold to the touch when you receive it, do not try to feed it; the body has shut down and it cannot digest food. Warm it up in a box lined with towels placed on top of a heating pad. When it is warm and you feel it's time to eat, feed it a little Gatorade first, this will replace the electrolytes (essential body salts) that were lost. Then every 1/2 - 1 hr, start with eyedropper and then start formula.

Most common causes of diarrhea are overfeeding; better to underfeed than overfeed. If you are feeding prepared formula such as KMR or Esbilac, do not add vitamins; it may cause vitamin toxicity.

After each feeding, animals stomach should appear to be gently rounded and feel soft when pressed.

Constipation:    A. Dilute formula for few feedings
                          B. Add drop of cooking oil to formula
Diarrhea:          Drop of Pepto Bismol in animal's mouth

Sometimes, baby will refuse formula at first because it doesn't smell or taste like Mom. After about 24 hours, he'll realize that's all there is and will start to drink.

Remember, these are only guidelines and each baby has a mind of its own; so a lot of what we try to do is by trial and error until the baby tells us it's right.

Esbilac recommends usage for: dogs, squirrels, chipmunks, opossum, rabbit, ferret, groundhogs.

KMR: cats, raccoons, badgers, skunks, bobcats.