As one of the world’s leading teaching hospitals for wildlife medicine, the Wildlife Center of Virginia has a core mission to teach the world to care about and care for wildlife and the environment. This news page collects stories of the Center’s expertise in action.
During winter, most reptiles and amphibians enter brumation (similar to hibernation) to wait out the cold months, but sometimes, individuals are disturbed and run into trouble. Recently, the Center has admitted several herpetofauna (reptiles and amphibians) whose winter did not go as planned, and they have one thing in common: they are all tiny!
On February 14, the Wildlife Center admitted the first Black Bear cubs of 2024. The three cubs came from Orange County after their den was accidentally disturbed during brush clearing at a construction site; their mother ran off. The construction crew immediately stopped the equipment to contact DWR; a biologist was dispatched to assess the scene and decided that, even though the crew was willing to leave the den in place for the mother to return, because one of the cubs was injured and there was ongoing construction in the area, it was safer to transport the cubs to the Center.
Skunks can be found in a wide variety of habitats and ecosystems throughout the state of Virginia, but as nocturnal and generally solitary creatures they don't often come into contact with humans intentionally. The odds of a close encounter do increase during this time of year, though!
Each winter, the Wildlife Center experiences what many people refer to as "weird duck season," a time when some of the more unusual species of duck visit our state. This year, it started in January when the Wildlife Center admitted two species of duck that are not commonly seen as patients: Ruddy Duck #24-0052 and Lesser Scaup #24-0057. Both ducks are migratory birds and only visit Virginia during winter months, when they head south from their northern breeding grounds.
Groundhog Day -- celebrated each year on February 2 – is a fun tradition that most of us are familiar with. According to folklore, if a groundhog sees its shadow on this day, there will be six more weeks of winter. If not, spring is just around the corner!
This year, the Wildlife Center of Virginia is celebrating by reminding people about the importance of protecting groundhogs and how to live more harmoniously with them as wild neighbors.
Research indicates that there are approximately 2 million free-ranging cats in the state of Virginia, approximately 1.2 million of them are unowned. Many of these gather in colonies which represent serious health risks to the community, nuisance to neighborhoods, and have a devastating effect on wildlife--not to mention the serious risks to the health and well-being of the cats themselves.