A live juvenile opossum was captured this morning in a secured area behind the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Office at 500 Ala Moana Blvd. Immigration officials called inspectors from the Plant Quarantine Branch of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture shortly after 8 a.m. to report seeing an opossum in the area.
Inspectors were dispatched and caught the opossum in a parked vehicle. It is not known how or when the animal arrived in Honolulu; however, opossums are known to hitchhike in cargo containers, which surround the area where it was caught.
The length of the opossum’s body, not including the tail, was estimated as about one-foot long.
Opossums are native to North America and are omnivorous, with diets that range from insects, bird eggs, and rodents to fruits and vegetables. Although opossums are less likely to carry rabies than other mammals, they are carriers of parasites and other diseases. Because the origin of the animal is unknown, the opossum is being tested for rabies as a precaution.
In July 2012, an opossum was caught in a cat trap at a Sand Island warehouse and in August 2011, one was found in a shipping container as it was being unloaded in the Ward Center area. In 2005, two opossums were found – one was captured inside a military cargo plane at Hickam Air Force Base and the other was found in the mail receiving area of the U.S. Postal Service facility at Honolulu International Airport.
Individuals who see or know of illegal animals in Hawaii are encouraged to contact the State’s toll-free PEST HOTLINE at 643-PEST (7378).