Wildlife Center of Virginia Blog

Underground Neighbors

There is likely a venomous creature lurking around in your backyard and you may not even know it. [Cue the shark music.] Worse, even if you saw it, you might mistake it for the wrong animal. Your identification mistake would cost you precious seconds, just time enough for the wild beast to rush on you, back you into a corner and then … oh, wait, we’ll come back to that at the end of this blog.

Lessons Learned

Once I fully grasped what the Wildlife Center of Virginia was really all about, I realized that I would be spending eight weeks in one of the best places in the world … in a place where there is so much support and inspiration to learn new things and a place where I could push myself to be a better person and teacher.

A Journey Home

As a young child, my dreams were always filled with me flying over rooftops and trees … soaring endlessly. Wishing I was a bird, I would flap my arms and run as fast as I could for takeoff. For some reason, I always had to hold my breath to be able to fly. I never could figure that out, but the sensation of flying was worth all the breath in the world. Upon waking, I could almost imagine what it felt like to fly and think birds must have a wonderful life.

My experience so far ...

During the past month, I have learned so much about what it really means to be on the outreach team here at the Wildlife Center.

Because the Center is a teaching hospital, the outreach department (comprised of staff members, students, and volunteers) offers educational activities and programs to the public about wildlife, current events at the Center, and wildlife conservation efforts.

A New Beginning

The start of any new experience is always very exciting, but also nerve-wracking. For the few weeks leading to my start at the Center I was so impatient – I was ready to arrive and begin learning! It also didn’t help that it was -30 degrees outside with nearly four feet of snow in northern New York!

I didn’t know what it was going to be like working at the Center … but I knew that it was going to be life-changing.

Dr. Rich: The Battle For Bats

Many people don’t like bats. They think they are creepy, gross, or disease carriers. In my opinion, quite the opposite is true. Bats are amazing little mammals and are an invaluable component of our ecosystems. Bats are the primary predators of night-time insects like flying beetles and mosquitoes. A single bat can eat about one thousand insects every hour that they feed, which is usually three to six hours every night. By controlling insect populations, bats are critical to human health – for example, West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes.

Chelonian Husbandry: The Basics

They say that “time flies when you are having fun,” but the same can also be said when you are busy. At the Wildlife Center of Virginia, both are true. I came to the Wildlife Center for the fall rehabilitation externship program, and it has had me doing a lot of different things. Every day was a different experience, despite having some things set as a weekly routine: weighing patients, cleaning filters in the reptile room, and hosing down different enclosures and flight pens. And I have enjoyed every single bit of it!


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