STOs – Short Tail Opossums


Is An STO Right for you?

(Originally written by the owner of


Good Pet For Owners Who…

  • Have handled or spent time with short tail opossums and enjoyed them.
  • Have patience for handling, bonding and training with their STO for months.
  • Are busy and may not have a lot of time during the day to spend with a pet.
  • Are night-owls who may see their nocturnal STO more than early-bedtime owners or children.
  • Love spoiling their pet; experimenting with different fresh foods and climbing toys.
  • Can be responsible caring for an exotic pet.
  • Can enjoy watching their pets and not need a lot of interaction to be satisfied with their pet.
  • Can appreciate STO for the fascinating, different little creatures they are.
  • Can afford at least a 20 gallon cage, toys, and veterinary care for their pet if necessary.

Maybe Not a Good Pet For Owners Who…

  • Don’t want a pet that sleeps during the day – short tail opossums are nocturnal and will sleep during the day.
  • Need tons of love, attention and appreciation from a pet – they might prefer a dog, cat, ferret or rat instead.
  • Expect their STO to be social, friendly and tame the first day, week or month they own one.
  • Would be bored by a pet that sleeps so much hidden in their nest box.
  • Most STO owners agree they are better for older children or teenagers.
  • Want to breed them immediately – short tailed opossums are difficult to breed and may injure or kill each other.
  • Can’t afford a decent cage or supplies – if they can’t afford a one-time $50 for a cage and supplies, how can they afford a vet if their opossum needs one?
  • Only want a litter-box trained short tail opossum because not all STO will use one – and many STO will go to the bathroom in both their litter-box and on their exercise wheel.
  • Have never seen, handled or held a STO before buying one.

Short-Tailed Opossums & Children

I recommend parents buy short-tailed opossums for the whole family to enjoy, rather than as a pet specifically for their child. Most STO pet owners recommend them for responsible, older children and teenagers rather than young kids. While parents are often fascinated by the STO, most young children get bored quickly with a pet they never see because it sleeps all day hidden in a nest.

Young Children

If you as a parent want a pet whose sole purpose in life will be entertaining your child, I do not recommend a nocturnal pet like short tail opossums. I’ve received too many frustrated emails from disappointed parents complaining their child’s STO wakes up after the child’s lights are off.

On the positive side, a frequently successful situation is when parents who love exotic pets add a STO to their home “zoo” of pets. When a short tail opossum is one of many pets in the home, children seem to enjoy them more because the STO is under less pressure to “perform”. The children can always play with another pet if the STO is sleeping.

I have also heard positive stories about short-tailed opossums kept in school classrooms. They are different and interesting as pets and offer a valuable educational opportunity. They often do well in classrooms that house a variety of pets.


Teenagers in high school and college often enjoy short-tailed opossums because they are quiet, easy to take care of and don’t demand a lot of attention. Unlike some pets that suffer if they don’t receive enough attention, the solitary STO are fine when left to their own devices. STO can suit the odd hours of students very well.

Other Pets

Short-tailed opossums may be a better choice for a child than a hamster. People who had hamsters when they were kids often tell me the hamster bit them constantly, slept all day, and ignored them the rest of the time. Short tailed opossums are at least more interesting than that, don’t usually bite and many STO enjoy being played with and handled.

Please visit for more!