top of page

Adult Diet:

In the early days, I followed the NOS diet exclusively and never deviated from it but as time went by I began to incorporate a more natural diet, while still following closely to the NOS protocol for the correct balance of nutrients.


All my research on diet has been done through trial and error, as part of my own personal and others journeys to improve the lives and health of captive opossums, and trying to unlock the reasons for their pitifully short lifespans. I’m afraid part of the problem is that these wonderful creatures are just pre-programmed for an early demise. For whatever reason, nature has deemed to give the opossum the lifespan not much better than that of a rodent. However, since CHF seems to take the males, and so many females die of cancer, I have focused on what might ward off these 2 illnesses from occurring, at least at such a young age. 

 

This a lot of information and I do not want people to think I over supplement my animals......which can be easy for some people to do. In fact too much supplementation can be more detrimental then none at all. I use very trace amounts of these supplements, and not all are used every day. Some are used throughout their lifetimes, others are added once they become adults, though certainly most if not all of these could be used with any possum once it is on an adult diet regimen. These are what I recommend for opossums that will be living their lives in captivity. I also try to incorporate more natural items that possums may be eating in the wild or at least a close facsimile thereof; edible flowers, leaves, weeds etc.....

I prefer to use holistic, organic brands of dog foods, moving up to the low fat versions by the time they reach 5-6 months of age and then onto senior dog kibble once they reach the age of 1 year. 

 

DIET: Variety is key!!!

When it comes to feeding these guys, I started with the basic “concepts” of the NOS diet, but tried to tweak it to incorporate more natural ingredients and less processed foods. We buy organic whenever possible, and we grow our own vegetable garden every year as well. In addition to this, we grow a lot of edible flowers and plants throughout our yard. We do not use any chemicals in our yard.

VEGETABLES: First of all, think FRESH. Please don't ever feed canned or otherwise commercially cooked/processed vegetables. That includes baby food. Frozen can be used in a pinch but check and make sure there has not been any salt added to it. 

Think calcium rich leafy greens like turnips greens, mustard greens, collards, and kale. There should always be a decent amount of calcium rich vegetables/greens at every meal. You can also add in things like bok choy, green or yellow wax beans, broccoli, squash, bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots, radicchio, mushrooms, tomatoes, celery, cauliflower, beets, and beet greens, pea pods, zucchini, okra, brussel sprouts, jicama, even radishes. You can even add in things from your garden as long as there has been no chemicals used such as edible flowers, purslane, and edible weeds. Try to keep all the vegetables that are red/orange or yellow in color to about 15-20% of each meal, as those are high in Vitamin A and you don't want to over-do that. I prefer to feed raw vegetables and greens, but if for some reason your possum prefers it cooked, just lightly steam it so it retains its nutrients.

I DO NOT feed avocados: Avocados contain a toxin called persin, this can cause death in certain species such as birds and some larger animals (cattle). IT CAUSES AN ACCUMULATION OF FLUID IN THE HEART AND LUNGS, LIVER AND KIDNEY FAILURE. The Guatemalan variety, a common one found in stores, appears to be the most problematic. Other varieties of avocado can have different degrees of toxic potential. We do not know if they impact possums negatively in any way, but I have to wonder if over time, they have an accumulative, negative effect on their health. To me, I can't see how depriving a possum of avocados deprives them in anyway. You cannot miss what you have never had and I'd much rather err on the side of caution.

FRUIT: I lean towards fruits like papaya, blueberries and cranberries (in fact I feed cranberries daily to help prevent UTI's) but you can certainly feed other fruits like apples, melons, kiwi, other types of berries, apples, pears, peaches etc. Plums might cause loose stools because after all, they are prunes. Fruit should be limited to just a couple bites per day.

I DO NOT feed grapes / raisins. Grapes and raisins have recently been associated with the development of kidney failure in dogs. At this time, the exact cause of the kidney failure isn’t clear, nor is it clear why some dogs can eat these fruits without harm, while others develop life-threatening problems after eating even a few grapes or raisins. Some dogs eat these fruits and experience no ill effects—but then eat them later on and become very ill. Again, just like with avocados, we do not know if they react the same way in possums, but I have to wonder if over time, they have a accumulative negative effect on their health. I cannot see how not offering a possum grapes/raisins deprives them in anyway. You cannot miss what you have never had and I'd much rather err on the side of caution.

 

PROTEIN: Should equal to appx 1 TBSP per day. Examples of suitable proteins are; Cooked and unseasoned omega-rich fish like salmon, or water packed/no salt added sardines, cooked chicken, cooked chicken hearts, cooked eggs (without the shell as they contain way too much calcium),1 small mouse (buy frozen and thaw before serving), and store-bought insects as wild are far more likely to contain parasites. Other nice occasional sources of both protein and omega3 are things like raw unsalted walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, ground flax, but don't over these.

 

DAIRY: I personally do not feed dairy once a possum is off Peter's Food, but if you do feed dairy, choose organic products and limit how much you give to them. Remember, dairy is also a source of protein so take that into consideration with each meal.  There is a lot of controversy concerning the negative health effects of eating dairy, some have linked it to certain cancers, obesity and other health concerns in human beings, so who knows how it might impact these animals. When I need to give a little yogurt for any reason, I use nut-milk based yogurts.

DOG OR CAT KIBBLE: If you must, you can offer a few pieces of kibble occasionally as a treat, but it should not be a mainstay of their daily diet. Look for brands that contain only 27-31% protein. 

Use a brand of kibble that stays within the following guidelines:

  • 27-31% protein (no higher!)

  • Fat: no more than 11%

  • Calcium: no more than 1.1 %

  • Phosphorous: No higher than 0.9%

Unfortunately, there are not a lot of brands to choose from that keep you within or very close to the above guidelines. Meow Mix and Iams ProActive Healthy Indoor Cat food are two examples.  Purina One Natural Weight Control +Healthy Weight for dogs is another. make sure to check labels as these companies often change their formulations.

Commercial Opossum Foods:

First off, you all need to know I am an avid label reader, especially when it comes to the commercially prepared foods I purchase for any of the animals in our care. I have studied animal nutrition for decades, and dealing with commercial pet food companies was part of my job back in the day.

Every single year I get messaged about the foods listed below, so I decided to break it down for you all as to why I don’t recommend them.

One thing you need to know is just because a company slaps a label on something and says its good or “complete” for a specific species, doesn’t make it so. There are some truly awful animal foods on the market and years ago when hedgehogs became so popular (which is another area of expertise for me), a handful of companies jumped on the bandwagon to make a food for them to and it was absolute garbage. It boggles my mind how many people get sucked into buying things like this, but I guess it just boils down to people being too trusting in general. If there is just 1 piece of crucial advice that I can pass on to you all its “Read the label”! Know what’s in the food you are buying, and if its something you don’t recognize, look it up.

For opossums, FRESH is always best. After they are past the Stage 1-4 diet, if you want to supplement with a little kibble, that’s fine….just use a quality brand and offer it sparingly.

The foods listed below could be broken down even further than I have done here, but I wanted to keep it fairly simple. If you want to delve further into it, by all means, go for it!

Just say No:
OpossumComplete1lb.jpg
Premium-Insectivore-Diet-1.25-LB-Front.jpg

Exotic Nutrition Opossum Complete Opossum Food: Just say no

​Ingredients: Poultry By-Products Meal, Corn Meal, Soybean Meal, Blood Meal, Ground Whole Wheat, Brewers Rice, Animal Fat Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols, Corn Gluten Meal, Apple, Blueberries, Cranberries, Papaya, Dried Adult Insects, Dried Insect Larvae, Dried Beet Pulp, Meat And Bone Meal, Wheat Middlings, Fish Meal, Phosphoric Acid, Salt, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Brewers Dried Yeast, Calcium Sulfate, DL-Methionine, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Zinc Sulfate, Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Copper Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite.

Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein 24.00% Minimum Crude Fat 10.80% Minimum Crude Fiber 4.00% Maximum Moisture 9.00% Maximum Calcium 1.54% Minimum Phosphorus 0.76% min

Comments:

Poultry By-product Meal: The first thing that stands out to me is the use of “poultry by-products”. Chicken by-product meal consists of the ground, rendered, parts of the carcass of slaughtered chicken, such as necks, feet, unborn eggs, heads, beaks, bones, feathers and intestines. Now, eating body parts like this is not necessarily a bad thing for your animal, as long as you realize exactly what you are paying for. You won’t be getting any of what we humans call the good parts of the chicken such as the breast or thighs.

Animal fat is not defined here, so it could be a potpourri of any kind of animal. Generally this is frowned upon in the dog and cat food world. Companies should divulge where specifically the fat source came from (such as poultry). In this case, it could be fat rendered from literally ANY kind of animal that ends up at the rendering plant. And if you have never visited a rendering plant (like I have)….it’s a horror show.

“Meat Meal” is listed….once again, just like the fat source, this really should be labeled as “mystery meat”…..it could literally be anything, and remember, because of the saturated fats and a possums propensity to develop heart disease, we don’t want our possums eating beef, venison, lamb, pork or who knows what all else.

Bone Meal: Did you know that bone meal and other animal byproducts that have been used as animal feed or supplements have been shown to transmit BSE? (That stands for bovine spongiform encephalopathy). The type of processing determines if the infectious agent is there. Also, bone meal is high in lead. It may also have high mercury levels, and it can cause gastrointestinal distress if eaten by humans or animals. Also, there are no studies that show if bone meal is safe for human consumption so why are we going to feed it to our animals?

Dried Insect larvae: No complaints here except I find it interesting that this company adds it to their opossum food but there isn’t a single insect added to the food they manufacture for insectivore species.

Exotic Nutrition Insectivore-Fare: Just say no

Ingredients: porcine by-products, fish meal, poultry by-product meal, shrimp meal, wheat flour, dried bakery products, crushed roasted peanuts, dried kelp, fructose sugar, corn syrup solids, water, spirulina, lactic acid, phosphoric acid, calcium propionate (preservative), iodized salt, calcium carbonate, concentrated carotene, calcium chloride, propylene glycol, vitamin e supplement, taurine, vitamin a acetate with d-activated animal sterol (source of vitamin d-3), vitamin b-12 supplement, riboflavin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, choline chloride, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin k activity), pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, ascorbic acid, sodium selenite, manganous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, ethylenediamine dihydriodide, magnesium sulfate, p-aminobenzoic acid, folic acid, sulfur, biotin, natural and artificial flavors. 

Guaranteed Analysis: crude protein (min) 20%, crude fat (max) 7%, crude fiber (max) 6%, moisture (max) 40%.

Comments: Opossums are prone to heart disease, and just like a doctor might tell a human being to cut back on the amount of red meat their eating to improve their health, this is the same reason we do not feed it to possums. Pork, beef, venison, lamb etc are all higher in saturated fats. This product’s first ingredient is pork.

Propylene glycol: They also use propylene glycol and while it has been deemed “safe” by the FDA, many organizations believe it poses a health risk. Generally, it is added as a cheap alternative preservative instead of using natural vitamin E, whose antioxidant properties help to prolong the shelf life, or to create foods that are chewy instead of hard.

Dried bakery products: This is an inexpensive manufacturing leftover salvaged from the processed food industry that consists of nothing more than a mixture of bread, cookies, cake, crackers and other baking waste which have been artificially dried and ground into a coarse powder. Hmmm, what do I always tell people when it comes to feeding their opossums JUNK food?

Fructose sugar: The primary use for fructose is sweetness. In the pet food industry, both sugar and salt are added to make the food more palatable to the animal eating it. In human beings, the consumption of fructose has been found to impair the composition of blood lipids. Fructose raises the levels of VLDL cholesterol, leading to fat accumulation around the organs and potentially heart disease. Increase blood levels of uric acid, leading to gout and high blood pressure. It also contributes to insulin resistance, obesity, fatty liver disease and diabetes. So once again, WHY do we want our possums eating this?

JUNK FOOD: JUST SAY NO. I see so many videos of folks sharing sugary, salty treats with their possums and it might seem cute and entertaining but once you upload that video or those pictures onto social media, it can potentially be seen by thousands and it gives people the impression that its fine to feed a possum junk food. Animals have NO idea what candy or sugared cereals, ice cream, popsicles, salty chips etc are, so why would you introduce these foods to them? Just because you crave ice cream and can't imagine life without it, doesn't mean their lives are incomplete without it.....so is sharing stuff like that for their benefit or yours? The next time you're sitting there with a snack for yourself, bring a few bites of an apple or something HEALTHY to offer them while your eating your own treat...you don't have to share what you're eating, you really don't.

allie7-21.jpg

You can keep your chips and ice cream human!  I'd rather eat my weight in greens and flowers.

Supplements:

Opossums are prone to several different health issues. Here are some of the most common:

  • UTI's (urinary tract infections)

  • Heart Disease

  • MBD (Metabolic bone disease)

  • Cancer

Because of this and because they have relatively short lifespans, I feel its important to not only provide the best diet possible, but to also make sure they get plenty of exercise. I include several supplements into their diet as well that are geared towards a healthy heart, a healthy urinary track, and have anti-cancer properties to them.

 

A diet rich in calcium will prevent MBD, but again, its always best that older juveniles and adults get their calcium from the food that they eat, not from calcium supplements. 

D-Mannose along with a couple cranberries each day can work wonders preventing UTI infections.

The flax oil combined with Taurine, L-Carnitine, Vit E, CoQ10 and hawthorn is beneficial to heart health and the immune system. Recipe on how to make this is farther down on this page.

Glucosamine-Chondroiton_MSM supplements help support the joints; start them on this as older juveniles BEFORE arthritis has the chance of setting in.

Bee pollen: is a good antioxidant, strengthens the immune system, and even boosts liver health. You can sprinkle a little right into their food.

Green Mush: (or my personal recipe below) provides many minerals and trace elements in their diet and can be especially useful for possums who refuse to eat their vegetables. It also provides fiber.

Golden Paste: (see recipe farther down): This is a great natural antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory. I have found it useful in animals with mild inflammatory issues such as arthritis etc.....it helps ease the pain, and promotes healing.

Probiotic and Digestive enzymes: Just a small pinch on their food daily.  They help the body more readily absorb and digest the nutrients in the food they eat. Papaya and pineapple are a great source for digestive enzymes.

Nutritional Yeast: (not to be confused with the type of yeast you bake with). I buy the Nutritional yeast in bulk at the health food store and sprinkle approximately ½ tsp on their food a couple times per week. Nutritional yeast is a source of B vitamins, including thiamine, folate, B-6 and niacin and is especially helpful with animals whose appetites are waning. Just 1/2 tablespoon of some brands will provide you with a day's worth of B vitamins, while other brands offer between 30 and 100 percent of the B vitamins. Nutritional yeast is a complete protein, meaning that among the 18 amino acids it contains are the nine essential ones that your body cannot produce. Nutritional yeast also provides the compounds beta-1,3 glucan, trehalose, mannan and glutathione, which are associated with enhanced immunity, reduced cholesterol levels and cancer prevention. You get a significant dose of the minerals iron, selenium and zinc when you consume nutritional yeast.

L-Carnitine: This is an important additive because many dog foods do not contain this important amino acid. L-carnitine has been shown to help protect against damage to the heart muscle and the circulatory system.

Taurine: Taurine is an amino sulfonic acid, a chemical that is a required building block of protein. Taurine is found in large amounts in the brain, retina, heart, and blood cells called platelets. Taurine promotes cardiovascular health, insulin sensitivity, electrolyte balance, hearing function, and immune modulation. In animal research, taurine protected against heart failure, reducing mortality by nearly 80%. The best food sources are meat and fish.

Birch Leaf: Birch leaves have been found to help cure urinary tract infections, and since female opossums especially, have such a propensity for UTI's, it may be wise to include this in their diet.  If you are lucky enough to have a birch tree in your yard (untreated of course), try offering a few of the leaves to your opossum.  For the rest of us, Birch Leaf Tea and Birch Leaf powder can be found in health food stores as well as online.

41KRC9ANURL._AC_.jpg
71tUlu+E2XL._AC_SL1500_.jpg
L-Taurine__15436.1513892466.png
f1016707-2bd9-487f-b6ba-a5f0c8ef1a82.38fef0090ea04893c64d8fd9d30176cb.jpeg
71LtzhXo-FL.jpg
4cc99415-4f17-403f-bbfb-c605cf3f5da3.dd8c6d7b3b666d5508c96078b3962d3e copy.jpg
14362481.jpg
Bee-Pollen.jpg
2ee6fd41-7747-4df7-8b6b-e71b9b15f6c3.8606c780939e5f71b41758599b076332.jpeg
615ZvRyoT0L._AC_SL1400_.jpg
GM-10.png
61kqiMgM8RL._SX679_.jpg
green-powder-628x363-1445383801.jpg

LAURA'S MAGIC GREEN POWDER:

A lot of folks have problems getting their possums to eat their greens and other vegetables. There are several tricks you can try and one of them is to mix some of this into their food, a bit of applesauce or into a smoothie. There are products like this on the market with varying ingredients, but none of them contain as many different plants as I use (at least none that I have seen yet). And this will cost you almost nothing but your time.

We grow so many edible plants on our property and I always put some aside to dry out and store for winter feedings for the turtles, rabbits and other animals in our care. One day I decided to powderize some of it and use it for the animals who will not readily eat dried plants.  I have a basic recipe that I use, based on what we have in our yard or where I know I can pick it where there are no chemicals used, and far away from major roads so the exhaust from cars doesn't pollute it. If I am going to use probiotics, I sprinkle that on separately. ***If you don't want to bother making this, there is a product called GREEN MUSH that is pictured above and it is an excellent supplement. 

 

 

  • Orchard and timothy hay

  • Hibiscus leaves and flowers

  • Rose; flowers and the hips

  • Violets and pansies

  • Marigold

  • Alyssum

  • Nasturtium

  • Blossoms off the squash, peas, and other vegetables we grow

  • Sage blossoms

  • Bee balm

  • Chamomile

  • Clover

  • Echinacea

  • Dandelion 

  • Plantain 

  • Wheat grass 

  • Chickweed 

  • Raspberry leaf 

  • Spirulina (store bought)

  • Chlorella (store bought)

  • Collards

  • Turnip greens

  • Kale


All you do is gather the plants throughout the growing season, let them thoroughly air dry and seal in a air tight container. Once you have enough on hand, simply put it all into your blender and let it run until everything is ground into a fine powder (you might want to wear a mask because it creates a lot of dust). Once its all ground up, I place some in a large salt shaker and store the rest of it in a Ziploc bag. You can sprinkle it on their food or mix it in. Works great in smoothies as well or a little applesauce.

CARDIAC FORMULA: DO NOT add additional amounts of the following ingredients to your possum's food, if you are using this cardiac formula.

  • 1 oz Flax seed oil

  • 1000 mg L-carnitine

  • 1000 mg taurine

  • 1000 iu vitamin E

  • 400 mg coq10

  • 500 mg hawthorne standardized

 

Place all ingredients in a small dark colored bottle and mix well (this is light sensitive). Store in the refrigerator. Stir well before you dose it out each day.

 

Dosage for an adult opossum: .75-1.00 ml daily orally once daily

GOLDEN PASTE: (Natural anti-inflammatory for arthritis)

Be very careful not to feed too much as it can cause upset tummies. Always mix this in well with their food, never feed it on an empty stomach. I kept Tessa on this daily for about 3 months, and then went down to 3 times a week for about a month, then twice a week as a maintenance dose. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Apart from antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic properties, the curcumin in golden paste has proven to offer positive cardiovascular effects. Animal studies have shown that regular consumption of turmeric helps protect the heart from serious conditions like an enlarged heart or even heart failure.

To prepare Golden Paste:

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup turmeric/curcumin powder
1-2 cups  water (use half the total amount to begin with and have the other half ready if needed)
1/3 cup Extra Virgin olive oil
2-3 tsp  freshly ground black pepper (Important!)

DIRECTIONS:
Combine the turmeric and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to keep the mixture at a simmer, and cook for 7-10 minutes. Stir frequently to keep from sticking, and add more water as need to keep it to a paste consistency. The exact thickness isn't important--you can adjust that to your preference.

Remove it from the heat and allow it to cool until the pan is just warm to the touch. Add the oil and pepper and stir thoroughly until they are completely mixed in. Store in a clean jar (you can sterilize it if you like) in the refrigerator. It should keep for about two weeks. If you see any sign of mold, or notice an 'off' flavor, discard and make a new batch.

If you know you won't use all of it within two weeks, you can freeze part of the batch for later use.

DOSE:

Small animals should start with no more than 1/8 tsp, so you need to adjust the dose accordingly spending on the size of your possum.....this gives you a basic guideline to go by, obviously there is no data on how to dose possums. I gave our 8 lb possum appx 1/8th tsp a day.

 

Picky Eater?  Try these:

 

FRITTATA:
Frittata's are great because you can use any number of combinations in the egg mixture. You can use a whole egg or if you want to add some chicken or something, just use egg whites so you’re not giving too much protein.
 
Mince up whatever veggies you use, try and make it a good variety and mince it all up really small. Place this in a bowl with 1 whisked egg and mix well. Lightly oil a small pan, pour this in, add a tiny bit of water, cover it and let it steam cook slowly till done. Right before you take it off the stove, top with a little shredded low fat cheese, let it melt, cut it up and serve while still warm. Garnish with a little bit of fruit and kibble.
 

SMOOTHIES:
Again, you can use any number of ingredients in a smoothie....just make sure you stay within a reasonable balance of what possums are supposed to eat in terms of fruit, veggies etc via NOS standards.....don't over-do the fruit.
 
Some of the things we used in Mazzie's smoothies were non-fat yogurt (not Greek), all kinds of fruit and vegetables including squashes and sweet potatoes, ground flax or chia seeds. You can also mix in any supplements as well....we used turmeric, cinnamon, cranberry, and probiotics mostly. For extra picky possums, sweet is often the key to get them to eat so using something like banana to entice them to lick all this up can be used. You could even add egg or some other form of protein. Experiment and see what your possum likes. If they are really anti-vegetable, start with minimum veggies in it and work your way up.

 

EGG WHITE MUFFIN: These entice many possums to eat their vegetables, and they also make cute little mini-birthday cakes for them! You don't have to use regular sized muffin pans, you can opt for a mini-muffin pan but they would bake in far less time then what is directed below. THIS WOULD BE YOUR POSSUMS DAILY ALLOTMENT FOR PROTEIN!

Step 1: Choose your veggies, and lightly steam until just barely done. Some of the veggies I use are bell peppers, turnip and collard greens, fresh green beans, a little carrot, and zucchini. 

Step 2: Place about 2 tbsp of the veggie mixture into each muffin cup.

Step 3: Whisk the egg whites. Pour the eggs over the veggies into each muffin cup, leaving about 1/4″ from the top.

Step 4: Bake at 350°F for 23 to 30 minutes, or until the egg has puffed and comes clean with a toothpick. To easily pop them out, run a knife around the edges. 

Tip: Spray the muffin pan generously with olive oil spray. I like to use silicone muffin pans for easy clean up.

 

Storing, freezing and reheating:

To store: Make sure the egg muffins have cooled, then store in the refrigerator in an airtight container or bag. They will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

To freeze: Let them cool completely, then place in an airtight container or freezer bag. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Reheat from fridge: Reheat in microwave for 30 seconds, or until warm throughout.

Reheat from frozen: Reheat in microwave for 45 seconds, or until warm. You can also let them thaw in the fridge overnight, then microwave for about 30 seconds the next morning.


HEALTHY SNACKS:

  • 3-4 nuts (raw, unsalted walnuts or almonds)

  • 2-3 cranberries

  • Chopped vegetables/greens

 
 

GOOD EATS FINAL.jpg

Balancing Calcium and Phosphorous Ratios:

 

It is crucial to the health of your possums to balance the cal/phos ratios in their diet. When there is more phos than calcium in the system, the body will draw on the calcium stored in its bones for normal functions. This can lead to reduced bone mass that makes bones brittle and fragile (MBD), or to gum and tooth problems. Low cal to phos ratios may also increase the risk of high blood pressure and colorectal cancer. A balance of cal/phos is foods eaten can help reduce stress, reduce the risk of osteoporosis, and relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis and other problems associated with the body's use of calcium.

 

When feeding your possum, be certain to feed a diet that is higher in calcium and lower in phosphorous to help prevent MBD. It is believed they need to take in at least twice as much calcium as they do phosphorous. Many foods that are high in calcium, are also high in phosphorus......in particular, dairy products and some nuts. It doesn't mean that you can never serve food that is high in phosphorous, it just means you need to balance out the meal with foods that have a higher ratio in calcium.

 

Food Items with IDEAL calcium and phosphorous ratios: (1 cup serving)

 

Mustard greens: 104mg cal - 58 mg phos

Watercress 40 mg cal-20 mg phos

Chard 102 mg cal - 58 mg phos

Raspberries 27 mg cal - 15 mg phos

Spinach 56mg cal - 28 mg phos

Blackberries 46 mg cal - 30 mg phos

Endive 23 mg cal - 14 mg phos

 

Foods with MODERATE calcium to phosphorous ratios: (1 cup servings)

 

Turnips 36mg cal- 30mg phos

Radish 24 mg cal - 20 mg phos

Green beans 58 mg cal - 48 mg phos

Okra 100mg cal - 90mg phos

Eggplant 30mg cal - 26 mg phos

Apples 10 mg cal - 10 mg phos

Pineapple 11 mg cal - 11 mg phos

 

Food items with HIGH calcium to phosphorous ratios: (1 cup serving)

 

Kale 98 mg cal- 35 mg phos

Beet greens 164 mg cal - 58 mg phos

Chinese cabbage 74 mg cal - 26 mg phos

Dandelion Greens 104 mg cal - 36 mg phos

 

 

Parsley 78 mg cal - 3.2 mg phos

Turnip greens 106 mg cal - 24 mg phos

Papaya 72 mg cal - 16 mg phos

Yellow wax beans 174 mg cal 34 mg phos

Collards (cooked) 148 mg cal - 19 mg phos

 

Foods with a POOR ratio of calcium and phosphorous: (If you feed these, add some high calcium foods in with it):

 

Pears, rutabagas, cherries, cucumber, strawberries guavas, apricots, beets, cantaloupe, blueberries, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, squash, parsnips, sweet potatoe, pumpkin, peaches, carrots, asparagus, banana, plums, yams, tomatoes, peas, corn mushrooms, fish and meat.

 

Red Meat: contains 20 times the amount of phosphorous then it does calcium (never serve red meat to possums)

Poultry: contains 10 times the amount of phosphorous then it does calcium

Eggs: 1 large scrambled egg has 66mg calcium 99mg of phos

SOY PRODUCTS:  Just Say No!

Occasionally I get asked if its ok to feed soy-based foods to possums. The answer is a resounding no. Soy contains high levels of goitrogens. Goitrogens are compounds that inhibit the thyroid’s ability to utilize iodine correctly which could lead to hypothyroid problems.It also disrupts hormone levels by increasing estrogen and decreasing testosterone. It’s estimated that well over 95% of all soy is genetically modified and is known to be one of the most pesticide-drenched crops on the market and can cause increased  inflammation in the body.

bottom of page