Skip to Content

Animals in Virginia

Sharing is caring!

Welcome to Animals in Virginia.

Virginia can be divided into five different natural regions with areas ranging from coastal and wetlands to lowland areas to hills and mountains. The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources reports more than 100 species of mammals in the province, but that is already the case with wildlife including more than 200 species of birds and birds.

Virginia: animals in Virginia

Many of Virginia’s wildlife is similar to neighbouring states such as Tennessee and North Carolina. Black bears, white-tailed deer, squirrels, and other rodents are all vital parts of the natural world, and both eagles and foxes. Virginian water is very clean, clear and useful for fishing enthusiasts.

Fish found in rivers and lakes in Virginia are perch, pike, trout, and bass. Technically Virginia does not have any state animal but it has country bird, a bat of the state, a country dog, a world fish and a country insect. American foxhound is the country’s dog and can be logically considered as the state animal of Virginia. Virginian big eared bat is the bat of state while cardinal is the bird of state. The snake of the state is Eastern Garter snake while the official insect of state is Tiger Swallowtail butterfly.

Some the animals that you can see in Virginia are linked below:

Raccoon

Groundhog

Black Tailed Jackrabbit

Virginia Opossum

Elk

Wood Frog

Raccoon

Racoons: animals in virginia

The most common and well-known is the North American raccoon from northern Canada and most of the United States from south-to-South America. It has a bright black mask between the eyes, and a tail with 5 to 10 black stripes. A strong animal with short legs, a sharp mouth, and small erect ears, the North American raccoon is 75 to 90 inches long, including a 25-cm tail. Weight is usually 10 kg or less, although older males can grow to more than 20 kg.

Those living in the northern regions are larger than their southern counterparts. The North American raccoon fur is coarse and coarse, and their colour is iron-grey to black and brown. Southern raccoons are usually very silver, while northern “coons” tend to be blond or brown.

Like all raccoons, the North American raccoon is an intelligent and curious animal. The hairless front legs are highly artistic and look like thin human hands, the hind legs are thick and long. Although classified as a carnivorous animal, the raccoon is omnivorous, eating crayfish and other arthropods, mice, frogs, and fruit and other vegetation, including plants.

Raccoons are erroneously believed to “wash” their food before eating when water is present. This erroneous idea stems from their tendency to look for food in or near water and to act accordingly. Raccoons are well-versed in human habitation, even in cities and metropolitan areas, where they live in buildings and thrive on garbage dumps, pet food, and other amenities. Since food security is a major factor affecting raccoon populations, high population density is common in large cities. Earning themselves a mention on the list of animals in Virginia.

In the wild raccoons live in a variety of forest and grasslands. Most of the time found near water, they are skilled swimmers. They climb easily and are often attached to riverbanks, hollow trees or logs, or to abandoned beaver houses. Raccoons overcome winter food shortages through sleep.

This period may take a few days, in response to southern temperatures, up to four to six months in northern areas. Northern raccoons are able to do this by accumulating large amounts of body fat in late summer and autumn. Many will double their spring body weight to give themselves enough sleep over the winter.

Where can one find Raccoon in Virginia?

They are found in wetlands, suburbs, woods, park, cities in Virginia.

Groundhog

Sometimes it is found to be damaging gardens and pastures. Named the marmot, the groundhog is a member of the squirrel family, Sciuridae, within the order Rodentia. According to popular mythology in the United States, it emerges in the winter each year on February 2, called Groundhog Day, and if it sees its shadow, winter will last six more weeks.

This hardy mouse weighs up to 6 kg and has a body length of up to 50 cm and a short, green tail up to 18 cm long. The thick fur on the upper parts varies in colour between the various shades of brown; feet black, and underneath there is a buff. Melanistic and albino people sometimes occur in other communities.

Located from the eastern and central United States to as far north as Canada and Alaska, they often live near forest edges near meadows, open fields, roads, and streams, but occasionally congregate in dense jungles. The groundhog lives alone outside in the spring, when a litter of four to six babies is born. Litters of one to 9 are recorded. The babies stay with the mother for two to three months.

Where can one find Groundhog in Virginia?

It if found all around in Virginia excluding the eastern shore and extreme southeastern shore. 

Black Tailed Jackrabbit

Jackrabbit: animals in virginia

Black-tailed jackrabbit is also known as American desert hare. It is commonly found in western United States and Mexico. Black tailed jackrabbit has a height of about 2 feet and has weight of around 3 to 6 lbs. Black tailed jackrabbit is North America’s largest rabbits. These animals of Virgina are found living in grassy mixed areas.

Breeding of black tailed jackrabbit depends on location as it is found that breeding peaks in spring season. The young black tailed jackrabbit is born with full hair growth and open eyes. They start moving after minutes of birth so the female black tailed jackrabbit don not protect them until and unless they are nursing. The jackrabbit does not move or sleep in winter season and uses the same space for living throughout the year, the diet of black tailed jackrabbit includes various shrubs, grasses and fodder.

Grasses and fodders are mainly used in spring season and early summer. Shrubs include various types of autumn and winter foods. Types of plants and pattern differs with climate. The black tailed jackrabbit catches different ectoparasites including ticks, worms, lice, fleas and due to this reason hunters often avoid hunting them.

Black tailed jackrabbit are social animals and are usually found feeding or resting in small groups. They do not like living in burrows but can occasionally live in abandoned burrows for escaping and thermal protection in winters. During day time the black tailed jackrabbit rests in shrub cover’s depression and emerge at evening time to forage. They are very active during night. In the night they are very watchful of threats and with any danger sign they can run at a speed of 56 to 64 km per hour. 

Where can one find black tailed jackrabbit in Virginia?

It is found in dunes, beach grass, grasslands and desserts in Virginia.

Virginia Opossum

animals in virginia

The Virginia opossum extends from southern Canada to northern Costa Rica. The people of western Canada and the Pacific coast south to north of Baja California, Mexico, began as presentations from the eastern United States. Virginia opossum and common opossum can be found together in eastern and southern Mexico and Central America.

Virginia male opossum can grow up to 100 cm but measure approximately 76 cm long (including tail); females average 72 cm. Household cats, males weigh about 3 kg, females about 2 kg. The Virginia opossum is the only member of the body that stores body fat, and adult males may exceed 6 kg in the fall of the year.

Virginia opossums have a long head and a pointed nose, round ears, and a scaly tail, almost hairless, about half their length. Their front and back feet have five toes, all of which have sharp claws except for the inner fingerless, thumb-like, which is resistant to the hind feet. The Virginia opossum, like all members of the family Didelphidae, has 50 teeth, and the last premolar is the only tooth replaced (i.e., preceded by a milk tooth) in an adult. Ears, eyes, eye rings, and feet and one-third to one-half of the naked tail are black. Toes and ear tips are usually white in northern areas and black in Mexico and Central America.

The face is white in the north and is brown or dark brown in terms of population from southern Texas but always has a white forest colour — a feature used to identify this species where it occurs in conjunction with the common opossum. A coarse coat with long curly hair covering a short, thick undergarment may be pale grey or especially black .

Rarely in the north, black opossums are more common in the southern United States and in the south. The albino colour category is a rare and unusual colour pattern, often misinterpreted as albino , where the hair is white but the colour of the eyes, eye rings, feet, and base part. tail dark brown or black.

Where can one find Virginia opossum in Virginia?

It is found living in wooded area nearby lakes, streams and swamps.

Elk

The word elk comes from ancient Germanic root word which means stag or hart. Large male elk has weight of around 380 kilograms in early winter season. Difference in body mass is observed between the populations and increases from South to North. Exceptional ones have weight of more than 500kg.

When compare with other red deer female elk look similar to bulls externally and body mass. In winter season it is found that all elk have dark neck manes that are well developed. Elk has brown body colour. Elk has longer gestation period as compared to European red deer. In Asia elk are found living in cold grasslands which are found on the higher plateaus. Elk is found living on the edges of forests as deserving mention of the animals in Virginia.

Elk feed on grass, plants, leaves, and bark. Male elk have large horns that they use every year. Male elk also engage in normal sexual behaviour, including intercourse, sparring, and bugling, a major singing series that establishes domination over other men and attracts women. Male elk is currently native to North America and central / eastern Asia but was highly distributed in the past.

Elk populations were present throughout Eurasia invading Western Europe during the Late Pleistocene and surviving the original Holocene in southern Sweden and in the Alps; less extinct Merriam elk species reached Mexico. The elk is familiar with the countries where it was introduced, including Argentina and New Zealand.

Adaptation may actually jeopardise the existing species and the ecosystem where it has been introduced. Elk are susceptible to many infectious diseases some of which are found to  be transmitted to livestock. Efforts to eradicate infectious diseases from elk crowds, especially through vaccinations, have met with mixed success. Some cultures honour the elk as being spiritually important.

Elk is found to be having four chambered stomachs as they are ruminants. Elk are grazers while the white tailed deer and moose are browsers. Elk tends to eat more in the morning and in the evening, looking for safer places to feed. Their diet varies according to the season, traditional grasses become an annual supplement, tree bark is eaten in the winter, and shoots of summer trees. The elk eats an average of 9 kilograms of green daily. 

Where can one find elk in Virginia?

Elk is mostly found on Cumberland plateau in Virginia.

Wood Frog

wood frog animals in virginia

These frogs are mostly found in forests and woodlands. It is a type of cooler climate found in the northeastern United States and in all parts of Canada to central and southern Alaska. Scoring themselves a mention of the list of animals in Virginia. The wood frog is red to brown with an obvious black face mask. Its maximum length is 8.25 cm, and its maximum weight is 8 grams.

It is a spring farmer, using lakes in the wetlands created by meltwater and the recent winter rains. Breeding occurs between early March and early May, when females lay a few hundred to a few thousand eggs. The development is moderately rapid and depends on the temperature. Metamorphosis occurs in the next two to three months. The male’s voice is similar to that of a duck’s.

It has been suggested that wood frogs may be exposed to predatory predators, such as fish, as odour threats, as long as the attacker’s chemical mechanisms are closely linked to those of the injured activists. Later, when the tadpoles smelled the prey, they stopped swimming and kept quiet. In contrast, the larvae of wood frogs exposed to the odour of a predator alone were at greater risk of developing a non-threatening odour when they reached the tadpole stage.

Where can one find Wood frog in Virginia?

Wood frog is found allover in Virginia especially in forests and woodlands. It is found in cool moist forest areas northern, western and southwestern Virginia.

Summary Animals in Virginia

Virginia has wife variety of different animals. Virginia has around 41 provincial parks and 22 national parks which includes thousands of camping sites. Virginia is basically covered with lots of forests and valleys so that is why land can have many wild mammals of different type. Species of shrews, bats, skunks, squirrels are the wild mammals which are found in Virginia. It has a large population of white-tailed deer. Predators include the black bear, coyotes, pumas, bobcats etc.

Amphibian wildlife in Virginia include the different species of salamanders, frogs, toads and mud-puppies. Reptiles includes the different species of snakes among which the three most commonly found are Northern Copperhead, Eastern Cottonmouth, and Timber Rattlesnake. Virginia can be divided into five different natural regions with areas ranging from coastal and wetlands to lowland areas to hills and mountains.

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources reports more than 100 species of mammals in the province, but that is already the case with wildlife including more than 200 species of birds and birds. Many of Virginia’s wildlife is similar to neighbouring states such as Tennessee and North Carolina. Black bears, white-tailed deer, squirrels, and other rodents are all vital parts of the natural world, and both eagles and foxes.

Virginian water is very clean, clear and useful for fishing enthusiasts. Fish found in rivers and lakes in Virginia are perch, pike, trout, and bass. Virginia does not have any state animal but it has country bird, a bat of the state, a country dog, a world fish and a country insect. American foxhound is the country’s dog and can be logically considered as the state animal in Virginia. 

If you enjoyed reading about the animals in Virgina, check out the animals in Alabama and animals in Illinois next!

Sharing is caring!