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New Short Tailed Opossum

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raindear
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Joined: Thu Nov 28, 2013 4:19 pm
Location: Pahrump, NV

New Short Tailed Opossum

Postby raindear » Sun Dec 01, 2013 2:20 pm

My sister and I have kept rats for several years and loved them, but I got tired of having several death every 2 years or so. So, when we were down to our last of the last batch, I started looking for something with a longer lifespan. I started by researching Sugar Babies which I had been interested in some years ago. While researching Sugar Babies, I read about Short Tailed Opossums.

After some research and thought I decided to go with a STO. I found a breeder nearby, and got onto her adoption list. For reasons I'm not sure of, the next litter due date kept changing. August to September to October to November to January (?). And then, one day my husband and I took my sister into Las Vegas for a doctor's appointment. While we tried to pass the time til the appointment ended, I talked him into visiting a pet shop to see what the STO I have been talking about for so long looked like. The pet shop had one left that was born in April (6 months old at this point). The pet shop employee took her out and introduced her to us. She was so sweet, that I couldn't resist and bought her. I named this itty bitty girl Smidgen.

Now, I find that even with all the reading I have done, there are some questions I can't find the answer to. Is she too old to bond with me? I handle her every day, and she doesn't seem frightened of me, but she isn't fond of me at this point. I knew she would/could hiss, but I was unaware of other vocalizations she would make. I have heard her chitter at the cats when they got too curious, and when running on my arms and hands she sometimes whiffles. Are there other vocalizations I should be aware of?

I just love this tiny bit of life, she is so cute and utterly sweet and adorable. I was able to have her in a snuggle sack inside my shirt a couple of times, but she usually just wants to crawl all over. Sometimes she sits in my hand or on my arm or shoulder and washes her self. Sometimes she crawls up and down my arms and from hand to hand. Sometimes she races madly over my arms and hands as if she is trying to escape.

We do have other animals. It seems I have had a menagerie most of my life. Right now, we have cats, dogs, and a bird as well as this new STO. I'm fairly sure that all these unfamiliar scents have something to do with her insecurity, but I hope she will settle in. I'm not quite sure why the cats are so much more curious about her than they were about the rats. They settled down to the rats in a fairly short time, but this little girl seems to fascinate them for much longer.
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Jen Jen
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Re: New Short Tailed Opossum

Postby Jen Jen » Sun Dec 01, 2013 7:51 pm

From what I've been reading, STOs are usually purchased at around 3-5 months old, so I don't think your girl is to old to bond. However, I do think it's probably going to take time.
Trefoil
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Re: New Short Tailed Opossum

Postby Trefoil » Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:12 pm

Please post pics of your little girl. Are you still looking for company for her? I don't know anything about STO's, but my rats discouraged any unwanted attention, my dogs (boxer and german shepard)_ were afraid of them, I think they stuck their noses in the rats pen and got nibbled on. It was really funny to see to huge dogs being chased by 2 rats.
raindear
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Re: New Short Tailed Opossum

Postby raindear » Tue Dec 03, 2013 1:08 pm

My rats were very good at discouraging unwanted attention, but Smidgen is much smaller and not as confrontational. I don't have any pics, but there are a lot on the web. Some can be seen here: http://search.yahoo.com/r/_ylt=A0SO8w.E ... %2bopossum and You Tube has some great videos, this is one of my favorites: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVi7FGhx0ug . Short Tailed Opossums are like Hamsters and Hedgehogs, they prefer to be alone. It is one of the reasons I chose one.
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kitaluna
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Re: New Short Tailed Opossum

Postby kitaluna » Tue Dec 03, 2013 4:26 pm

As a STO breeder myself, I hope I can provide some advice for you. I find that STO's will tame and bond at virtually any age as long as they haven't been hurt or abused by humans. My first breeders were never handled when I got them at adulthood and with lots of attention and handling they calmed down and became very good pets. My suggestion is to limit handling to frequent, short periods at first to keep the stress from getting overwhelming. Make a sound, squeak or whistle, when approaching the cage and give a treat (with tongs, not by hand) every time before you interact to make the experience positive. I also find that hanging a tea towel or pillow case folding in half (provide some shredded paper for her to stuff it with for a nest) from the top of the cage or tank to make an open-sided sleeping pouch can aid the handling process. That way, when you want to take her out, you simply push up the pouch from the bottom and reach in to scoop her out. That way, you are not invading a nest box and disturbing her a lot before taking her out. It is also great fun to watch her weave a nest out of the paper after carrying it to the pouch in her curled up tail.
These animals make very rewarding pets with time and patience. Don't forget to supply live food like cockroaches and crickets for hunting and a good 12" solid wheel for running.
I am surprised she is making noises. I find that the STO are very silent except for chuffing when they are breeding.
My website is kitalunaexotics.com if you are looking for care sheets or other info on STOs.
Trefoil
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Re: New Short Tailed Opossum

Postby Trefoil » Tue Dec 03, 2013 5:44 pm

Mealworms?
raindear
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Re: New Short Tailed Opossum

Postby raindear » Wed Dec 04, 2013 12:25 pm

Kitaluna, thank you so much for the information. I can't tell you how grateful I am. She chittered twice at the cats the first couple of days and hissed at me twice in those first days, too. Now I sometimes hear a very slight whiffle noise from her sometimes, but she is generally silent. We got her a Wodent wheel and she spends a lot of time in it.

Trefoil, yes mealworms. In her native Brazil she is often found in homes where she eats insect pests and small rodents, much like house geckos you may have heard of.
raindear
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Location: Pahrump, NV

Re: New Short Tailed Opossum

Postby raindear » Thu Dec 05, 2013 4:26 pm

I am so excited, I just had to share.

Today, when I went in to say "Good Morning" to Smidgen, she was in her wheel. Usually, when I go to say good morning, she either runs in the wheel or runs to hide in the cage. Today, she just sat there looking up at me. I slowly moved my hand closer to her, and she didn't run away. I kept my hand near her and she slowly climbed onto it. I moved my hand to look at her more closely and she jumped down and ran away, but came right back. I held my hand in front of her again and again she climbed onto it. Then, of course, I moved again and she jumped off again and ran to hide again. This time she didn't come right back, so I let her alone for a while. This is the first time she has climbed onto my hand on her own. I am just so excited about this I had to share.
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Ash
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Re: New Short Tailed Opossum

Postby Ash » Thu Dec 05, 2013 6:09 pm

That's so great to hear. I'm glad the two of you are making such good progress! By the way, I love her name. :) It's very cute and suits a little animal like her.
3 red fox, 4 pectinata iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, 2 salamanders, 3 tarantulas
raindear
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Re: New Short Tailed Opossum

Postby raindear » Wed Dec 18, 2013 3:42 pm

The first picture we took of Smidgen is a YouTube video. It's the first YouTube my son has taken and posted. It's very short, but I think it's cute: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UD--JNBOXD8 I really hope we take and post more (and longer).
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Ash
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Re: New Short Tailed Opossum

Postby Ash » Wed Dec 18, 2013 4:21 pm

How cute! How is the taming process coming along?
3 red fox, 4 pectinata iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, 2 salamanders, 3 tarantulas
Trefoil
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Re: New Short Tailed Opossum

Postby Trefoil » Wed Dec 18, 2013 5:45 pm

Yep, he's cute. and it looks like he must be getting tame too. Congratulations
raindear
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Joined: Thu Nov 28, 2013 4:19 pm
Location: Pahrump, NV

Re: New Short Tailed Opossum

Postby raindear » Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:17 pm

Thank you. Of course, I think she's cute. The taming process is coming along. I'm having my son sit in on the sessions because I have to leave town in a few weeks and I don't want her to be left alone for those few days.
Willowbast
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Re: New Short Tailed Opossum

Postby Willowbast » Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:38 pm

She's so sweet! How are things now? I just got a girl of my own and we're having fun playing and snuggling :)
My cat Stevie is super curious about her too, she seems pretty indifferent to him at this point
What is smidgens favourite thing to eat? My girl is just getting started on bugs and we have lots to try yet
~WB
raindear
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Joined: Thu Nov 28, 2013 4:19 pm
Location: Pahrump, NV

Re: New Short Tailed Opossum

Postby raindear » Thu Jan 23, 2014 12:31 pm

I haven't gotten around to trying many different live insects, yet. I did give her some canned crickets which she loved, and I got dried mealworms, but she doesn't get as excited over them now as she used to. I feed her Marshall Premium Ferret diet, Exotic Nutrition Opossum Complete, Exotic Nutrition Insectivore-Fare, and the Short Tailed Opossum Blend the pet store sold me. Of these the Exotic Nutrition Insectivore-Fare is her favorite. I am going to weigh her dishes to see if there is any of the above she isn't eating at all before buying more. Exotic Nutrition also has a canned insectivore diet, that she likes, but to conserve money since the can is much larger than I expect her to empty in a reasonable amount of time, I froze it in mini ice cubes and give her a couple every few days. I also froze banana baby food, sweet potato baby food, and peaches in mini ice cubes and give her one of each during the week. Of these her favorite is banana. When I eat a fruit or veges, I try to remember to give her a piece and she usually eats it all, though she didn't seem to like apples much. If I give her cooked meat or something like bread, I only give her a piece the size of a chocolate chip, and that happens less than once a week. I hope I am doing all of this right.

For taming, over the last few days, she has started licking my hands, something she hadn't done before. In running around the bathroom she has gotten onto the sink faucet and jumped to my hand a few times every day recently, and when something startles her she runs to hide on my shoulder, so we are really progressing.

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