Live Opossum Captured at Honolulu Harbor

June 3, 2016, 3:54 PM HST · Updated June 3, 4:01 PM
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Opossum caught June 3, 2016. Photo courtesy: Department of Agriculture.

A live opossum was captured early this morning by workers offloading a cargo ship at Honolulu Harbor.

At around 3:30 a.m., on Friday, June 3, 2016, the workers spotted the animal, chased it into a trash container and held it for inspectors from the Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture.

The ship arrived from San Diego, CA, but it was not known how it got aboard the ship. Opossums are known to hitchhike in cargo containers.

“The department appreciates the swift actions of the dock workers in containing this animal,” said Scott Enright, chairperson of the Hawaiʻi Board of Agriculture.

Opossum caught June 3, 2016. Photo courtesy: Department of Agriculture.

Opossum caught June 3, 2016. Photo courtesy: Department of Agriculture.

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“Our staff periodically conducts training sessions with personnel of air and sea carriers in handling this kind of situation. We need everyone’s eyes, especially at the ports, to look out for invasive species that may enter our state,” said Enright.

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 2015, an opossum was captured at a Kakaʻako near the US Immigration and Naturalization Office on Ala Moana Blvd, an area surrounded by arriving cargo.
  • 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, an opossums was captured inside a military cargo plane at Hickam Air Force Base.
  • Also in 2015, an opossum was found in the mail receiving area of the US Postal Service facility at Honolulu International Airport.

Individuals who see or know of illegal animals in Hawaiʻi are encouraged to contact the State’s toll-free PEST HOTLINE at 643-PEST (7378).

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