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Home | Wildlife of Virginia

Wildlife of Virginia

virginia_animalsState bird:  Northern cardinal
State mammal:  Virginia big-eared bat
State fish:   Brook trout, striped bass
State insect:   Tiger swallowtail butterfly

Wildlife Removal in Virginia

Virginia borders the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.  The land is filled with bay tributaries, and the coastal plain extends back to rocky foothills which eventually turn into the Blue Ridge Mountains. The carbonate rock of the region is littered with over 4000 caves. And caves, as we all know, are fantastic homes for bats. Bats in Virginia are just above the non-hibernation line. The state does experience cold temperatures in the winter, and bats will have to migrate or go into hibernation. Because most caves remain at a consistent temperature even during the winter, hibernation is often the route of choice.

Predators in Virginia are large and rarely seen due to the thick forests and unpopulated mountain regions. Of these, the cougar is the most deadly toward other animals. Black bears are also present, but their diet consists mostly of berries and insects. If pressed to starvation, a black bear will hunt small mammals, sometimes going after nesting squirrels or the fawns of white-tailed deer. Coyotes are also present in the state, though packs are small and territorial. It is rare for these large predators to bother people, but if the weather is harsh, or a drought kills off too many food creatures, black bears, cougars, and coyotes will all move toward humans in hopes of an easy meal.

Large predators aren’t the only opportunistic creatures. The state has a large number of deer, porcupines, hogs, skunks, opossums, squirrels, and woodchucks. There are also mink and long-tailed weasels. Bobcats are the mid-sized predator in this state, but the bobcat is almost more reclusive than the cougar, and is rarely—if ever—seen by people.

The abundance of fresh water in this state leading into Chesapeake Bay is perfect for the growing and proliferation of reptiles and amphibians. The state is loaded with a variety of snakes, including the black snake, rats snake, cottonmouth snake, coral snake, copperhead snake, and the kingsnake. These serpents are surrounded by a host of other reptiles. Turtles are numerous and grow to impressive size in Virginia.

With so much game around, birds, especially raptors are able to thrive. Virginia has golden eagles, a huge species of raptor that has a golden hue in the feathers at the nape of the neck. Golden eagles are mysterious and usually in isolated groups, making the difficult to observe and study.