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Critter of the Week

Critters of the Week

A wild critter we spotted in the RVA area and a critter up for adoption by SPCA or RACC.

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Where Spotted: Between Reedy Creek and 21st Street Entrance
Common Name: Great Blue Heron
Scientific Name: Ardea herodias
Length: 38.2-53.9 in (97-137 cm)
Weight: 74.1-88.2 oz (2100-2500 g)
Wingspan: 65.8-79.1 in (167-201 cm)

Quick Facts (courtesy of The Cornell Lab of Ornithology)

  • Thanks to specially shaped neck vertebrae, Great Blue Herons can quickly strike prey at a distance.
  • Great Blue Herons eat nearly anything within striking distance, including fish, amphibians, reptiles, small mammals, insects, and other birds.
  • They grab smaller prey in their strong mandibles or use their dagger-like bills to impale larger fish, often shaking them to break or relax the sharp spines before gulping them down.
  • The female when making a nest weaves a platform and a saucer-shaped nest cup, lining it with pine needles, moss, reeds, dry grass, leaves, or small twigs. Nest building can take from 3 days up to 2 weeks.
  • Pairs are mostly monogamous during a season, but they choose new partners each year.
  • Great Blue Herons can hunt day and night thanks to a high percentage of rod-type photoreceptors in their eyes that improve their night vision.

Maryland Heathcliff

Primary Color: Grey
Secondary Color: White
Age: 7yrs 0mths 3wks
Sex: Male
Pet ID: 79672

Adopt Maryland at RACC

Information on Adopting a cat.

Please note that the adoptable critter we’ve selected was available when we created the post the animal might not be available when you go to the facility.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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Critter of the Week

Critters of the Week

A wild critter we spotted in the RVA area and a critter up for adoption by SPCA or RACC.

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Where Spotted: Wetlands
Common Name: Firefly aka Lightning Bug
Scientific Name: Photinus pyralis (this is a guess, there are 20 species in Virginia but this is the most common)
Length: 10-14 mm long

Quick Facts 

  • The common eastern firefly is, in fact, not a fly, but a type of beetle.
  • Fireflies use specific flashing signals to find a mate. Females wait on the ground for passing males to flash their signal, and then answer with their own specific signal.
  • The typical lifespan is 5-30 days.
  • It was originally thought that the light signals of the firefly would attract predators; however, the common eastern firefly contains a steroid that is poisonous, and this deters potential predators such as birds and frogs.
  • Science Stuff: The firefly produces light in the presence of oxygen, magnesium, and adenosine triphosphate by using an enzyme, luciferase, to oxidize a complex organic compound, luciferin. The light produced is often referred to as “cold light” because almost all the energy is released in the form of light and very little is wasted as heat. The wavelength range of this light spans from 520-620nm, and its brightness reaches 1/40 that of a candle.

Ellie Mae at Richmond SPCA

Howdy partner! My name’s Ellie Mae and I’m a sweet country beagle just lookin for a home to call my own. I am a little bit unsure of new things, so you have to move slow with me and be patient while I warm up. Once we’re friends though, we’re good as gold. Please call the adoption center at 804 521 1307 to speak with an adoption counselor about me!

Age: 2 years, 2 months
Gender: Spayed Female
Color: White / Brown
Size: M (dog size guide)
ID: 44250389

 

Adopt Ellie Mae at Richmond SPCA

Learn more about their adoption process.

To reduce visitor traffic, during the COVID-19 outbreak they are scheduling adoption appointments beginning Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Please leave your phone number in a voicemail or email and an adoption counselor will call to set an appointment for you to meet with a pet. Email the adoption center or call 804-521-1307.




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Critters of the Week

A wild critter we spotted in the RVA area and a critter up for adoption by SPCA or RACC.

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Shout out to @Vanjester on Instagram or donated her awesome photo of the opossum. Check out her Instagram it’s one of our favorites.

Where Spotted: Southside
Common Name: Opossum
Scientific Name: Didelphis virginiana
Length: 2.5 feet (76 centimeters), nose to tail
Weight: 8.8 to 13.2 lbs. (4 to 6 kilograms)

Quick Facts (more than usual)

  • North America’s only marsupial (female has a pouch) mammal. The female carries and nurses her young in her marsupium until they are about 2 to 3 months old; then they are carried on her back another 1 to 2 months whenever they are away from the den.
  • When threatened or harmed, they will “play possum”, mimicking the appearance and smell of a sick or dead animal. This physiological response is involuntary (like fainting), rather than a conscious act. When an opossum is “playing possum”, the animal’s lips are drawn back, the teeth are bared, saliva foams around the mouth, the eyes close or half-close, and a foul-smelling fluid is secreted from the anal glands.
  • Opossums eat dead animals, insects, rodents and birds. They also feed on eggs, frogs, plants, fruits and grain. One source notes their need for high amounts of calcium.[40] To fulfill this need, opossums eat the skeletal remains of rodents and roadkill animals. Opossums also eat dog food, cat food and human food waste.
  • Opossums are also notable for their ability to clean themselves of ticks, which they then eat. Some estimates suggest they can eliminate up to 5,000 ticks in a season.[44]
  • Many large opossums (Didelphini) are immune to the venom of rattlesnakes and pit vipers (Crotalinae) and regularly prey upon these snakes.
  • The Virginia opossum was once widely hunted and consumed in the United States. Opossum farms have been operated in the United States in the past.

Skittles at Richmond SPCA

Hello everybody! My name is Skittles and I am always ready to make a statement. I know it is time to break out the trumpets and play the bugles because I am ready to prance into my own adoption parade! If you like to have fun and smile a lot, I am just the girl for you. We could have a downright blast together and I am becoming giddy by the minute simply thinking of how many photo albums we can fill together. I am waiting right here, at the Richmond SPCA!
Age: 6 years, 1 month
Gender: Spayed Female
Color: Brown / White
Declawed: No
ID: 44432944

Adopt Skittles at Richmond SPCA

Learn more about their adoption process.

To reduce visitor traffic, during the COVID-19 outbreak they are scheduling adoption appointments beginning Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Please leave your phone number in a voicemail or email and an adoption counselor will call to set an appointment for you to meet with a pet. Email the adoption center or call 804-521-1307.

 

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Critter of the Week

Critters of the Week

A wild critter we spotted in the RVA area and a critter up for adoption by SPCA or RACC.

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Where Spotted: Dutch Gap
Common Name: Cedar Waxwing
Scientific Name: Bombycilla cedrorum
Length: 5.5-6.7 in (14-17 cm)
Weight: 1.1 oz (32 g)
Wingspan: 8.7-11.8 in (22-30 cm)

Quick Facts (Courtesy of the Cornell Lab)

  • The name “waxwing” comes from the waxy red secretions found on the tips of the secondaries of some birds. The exact function of these tips is not known, but they may help attract mates.
  • Cedar Waxwings with orange instead of yellow tail tips began appearing in the northeastern U.S. and southeastern Canada in the 1960s. The orange color is the result of a red pigment picked up from the berries of an introduced species of honeysuckle. If a waxwing eats enough of the berries while it is growing a tail feather, the tip of the feather will be orange.
  • The Cedar Waxwing is one of the few North American birds that specializes in eating fruit. It can survive on fruit alone for several months. Brown-headed Cowbirds that are raised in Cedar Waxwing nests typically don’t survive, in part because the cowbird chicks can’t develop on such a high-fruit diet.
  • Many birds that eat a lot of fruit separate out the seeds and regurgitate them, but the Cedar Waxwing lets them pass right through. Scientists have used this trait to estimate how fast waxwings can digest fruits.
  • Because they eat so much fruit, Cedar Waxwings occasionally become intoxicated or even die when they run across overripe berries that have started to ferment and produce alcohol.

Sidenote: I’m also posting birds on Dickie’s Backyard Bird Bonanza on Facebook if you’d like to see more feathered friends.

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Judge at Richmond SPCA

They call me Judge. The ladies love me, the fellas want to be me. What can I say? I’m a pretty handsome guy. Looks aside, I’m a stoic and independent dude. Some people call me stubborn, but I just like what I like. Ever hear Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”? Well that was written about me.

I live for long walks, having my hair brushed, and learning new things. It may take some time to get in my “in-crowd” but believe me it’s worth it. I’m a loyal and, quite frankly, I’m an awesome friend. I’m looking for a very specific home to fit my needs. Please call our adoption center at 804-521-1307 to set up an appointment to meet with me!

Age: 4 years, 2 months
Gender: Neutered Male
Color: White
Size: XL (dog size guide)
ID: 41339185

Adopt Judge at Richmond SPCA

Learn more about their adoption process.

To reduce visitor traffic, during the COVID-19 outbreak they are scheduling adoption appointments beginning Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Please leave your phone number in a voicemail or email and an adoption counselor will call to set an appointment for you to meet with a pet. Email the adoption center or call 804-521-1307.

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