During August 2022 the Center admitted a toad in need of emergency medical care; the pocket-sized amphibian (weighing in at just 6 g on admission) had been accidentally hit by a lawnmower, resulting in traumatic injuries to its left hind limb. The Center’s skilled veterinary staff performed micro-surgery for its injuries, which ultimately led to its successful rehabilitation and release back into the wild.
A post sharing the toad’s story on the Center’s Facebook page made quite an impact, reaching more than eleven thousand people online. Some users commented that they were impressed with the ingenuity and skill the veterinary staff possesses in performing delicate procedures, while others were surprised to learn the Center admits and cares for such small animals. Looking back through patient admissions during 2022 with a focus on some of the smallest and largest individuals we’ve encountered so far provides a fascinating insight into the variety of species that receive care at the Center. The photos below have been pulled from the Center's digital archives, and provide a visual reference for the life stage of the specific patients listed.
Smallest: Northern Long-eared Bat #22-2183; juvenile, 1.8 g (.06 oz). A wide-ranging insectivorous bat species, the Northern Long-eared Bat has an average body length of 3 to 3.7 in, and an average adult body weight of 5 to 8 g. Northern Long-eared Bats overwinter in caves, mines, and other cavernous places where temperatures and humidity levels remain stable during the coldest months of the year. Photo courtesy of Leslie Sturges.
Largest: American Black Bear #22-1286; juvenile, 22.30 kg (49.1 lbs). The smallest of North American bear species, adult Black Bears reach an average length of 4 to 7 ft from nose to tail. Adult females range in body weight from 90 to 250 lbs, while adult males may weigh as much as 500 lbs, depending on the season.
Reptiles & Amphibians
Smallest: Ring-necked Snake #22-2982; juvenile, 1 g (.03 oz). Ring-necked Snakes are some of the smallest snakes found in Virginia and other mid-Atlantic states. Posing no threat to humans, these reclusive snakes primarily hunt earthworms, salamanders, and small lizards beneath the leaf litter of forest floors. Average adults do not often exceed lengths of 15 in.
Largest: Snapping turtle #22-0484; adult, 19.26 kg (42.4 lbs). Thanks to their broad heads, sharply hooked beaks, and very long tails, Snapping Turtles are rarely confused with other native turtle species found in Virginia. Average lengths range from 8 to 14 in, and average weights range from 10 to 35 lbs. The heaviest, formally documented individual in Virginia tipped the scales at 51 lbs!
Smallest: Ruby-throated Hummingbird #22-0812; adult, 2.92 g (.1 oz). The sole breeding hummingbird species found in the eastern United States. Wingspans range from 3 to 4 in, and average adult weights rarely exceed 6 g. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are migratory, spending winters in the southern United States, Central America, and South America.
Largest: Bald Eagle #22-0020; adult 4.95 kg (10.9 lbs). One of the largest birds of prey on the North American continent. As with some other native raptors, females are generally larger than males. Adult males weigh between 6 to 9 lbs; adult females weigh between 10 to 15 lbs. The largest individuals may have a wingspan of up to 8 ft.
Thanks to the generosity and support of our donors, staff at the Center are able to provide the same level of expert care and attention to every single patient that comes through our doors, regardless of their size, shape, or species. Your donations help the Center share an important message with our communities and the world as a whole -- all wildlife have value and are equally deserving of our respect, protection, and admiration. Thank you!