What States Is It Legal to Have a Pet Opossum?

When most people think of keeping pets the most obvious choice is a dog, cat, a bunny or a hamster. Sometimes we may think of owning a snake pet or a fish in the aquarium. Rarely do we think about keeping opossums as pets.

Opossums are generally wild animals and most variants cannot be domesticated. In fact, it is illegal to own opossums in some states. However, some states may allow you to keep opossums but only with a license, while it is entirely legal in other states.

In this article, we will list states that allow opossums as pets, either with or without a permit. We will also list states in which it is completely illegal to keep opossums as pets.

States that allow opossums as pets

The United States has strict regulations when it comes to owning exotic pets. Although these regulations may change, it is important to know if keeping an opossum in your state may cause you trouble. 

These are the states that allow opossums as pets without a permit;

  • Florida
  • Arkansas
  • Oregon
  • Wyoming
  • Wisconsin
  • Delaware
  • Massachusetts


Only honey opossums and sugar gliders are completely legal in Florida. You will be required to obtain a license if you opt to keep other opossum species.

In Oregon, only short-tailed opossum is entirely legal while Massachusetts only allows sugar-glider opossums as pets.

States that allow opossums as pets with a permit

The following states may allow you to keep an opossum pet but only with a license;

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Minnesota
  • Maryland
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New York
  • New Jersy
  • New Mexico
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Oklahoma
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia


You can only keep the Virginia opossum with the relevant license while in Oregon while in Arizona you can only get a license for the short-tailed opossum.

States that do not allow opossums as pets

It is illegal to own opossums as pets in the following states;

  • Alaska
  • Alabama
  • Connecticut
  • North California
  • California
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Louisiana
  • Lowa
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • Tennesse
  • Vermont
  • Washington


What is the difference between a possum and an opossum?

The is no difference between a possum and an opossum. The same species is given either of the names depending on the region.

What should I feed a pet opossum?

Generally, opossums require a diet high in proteins and low in fat. This diet should include grass, garden pests snails, and insects.

For how long do pet opossums live?

Pet opossums can live for as long as 4 years in captivity and 2-3 years while in the wild. This is because unlike in the wild where they are exposed to harsh conditions, opossums kept as pets have better chances to live long.

Can opossums infect humans?

Opossums are the most dangerous exotic animals to keep as pets. They are very susceptible to infections that can be transferred to other pets and humans as well.

Opossums carry diseases such as tuberculosis, coccidiosis, and Chagas disease.