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Critter of the Week

Critters of the Week

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

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Where Spotted: Back Bay Nature Preserve near Virginia Beach (October)
Common Name: It has many, cottonmouth, water moccasin, swamp moccasin, black moccasin, or simply viper
Scientific Name: Agkistrodon piscivorus
Length: 26 to 35 in for males – females run a little smaller
Weight: 10.32 to 20.44 oz for males – 7.09 to 8.96 oz for females

Quick Facts Courtesy of Live Science

  • The name ‘cottonmouth’ comes from the white coloration of the inside of the snake’s mouth.
  • The water moccasin, North America’s only venomous water snake, has a distinctive blocky, triangular head; a thick body; and a dangerous bite. Water moccasins rarely bite humans, however, and only attack when threatened.
  • Water moccasins are pit vipers, like copperheads and rattlesnakes. Alll pit vipers have heat-sensing facial pits between their eyes and nostrils. These pits are able to detect minute differences in temperatures so that the snake can accurately strike the source of heat, which is often potential prey.
  • Juveniles have bright-yellow tail tips that they use as a caudal lure to attract prey. They undulate the tail tip slowly back and forth to lure prey, such as frogs, within striking distance.
  • Females give birth to live young every two to three years, in litters of about 10 to 20 babies.
  • Babies are born brightly colored and take off on their own as soon as they’re born. Parents do not care for them.
  • Water moccasins are often confused with nonvenomous snakes, leading to the death of many harmless snakes. According to the Virginia Herpetological Society, one such species is the northern water snake (Nerodia sipedon). It looks similar, but the crossbands on the back of the snake do not widen at the ends. Another snake often mistaken for the cottonmouth is the nonvenomous brown water snake (Nerodia taxispilota), which has most of its body below the water when in motion and only the head showing when it’s motionless, unlike the cottonmouth, whose entire body is on the surface of the water.

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Shrimp at Richmond SPCA

Shrimp is a hilarious, loving, and silly dog. She has a severe case of elbow dysplasia that causes her legs to bow out, and gives her a very odd gait when she walks. Her elbow dysplasia really doesn’t slow her down though, and she is still in good spirits!

She also has a condition called Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction where her soft palate is elongated. These medical needs will require long term treatment, but despite these conditions, Shrimp is happy go lucky, very affectionate, and very playful. She loves toys but likes to snuggle even more.

Age: 2 years,
Gender: Spayed Female
Color: Black / Tan
Size: L (dog size guide)
ID: 46369399

Adopt Shrimp at the Richmond SPCA

In response to COVID-19 and in order to reduce visitor traffic, observe necessary social distancing and to best protect the health and wellbeing of our staff and members of the public, Richmond SPCA have transitioned to adoptions by appointment only. Please review their adoption appointment process.

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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 RACC or Richmond SPCA.

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Where Spotted: Dutch Gap
Common Name: Muskrat
Scientific Name: Ondatra zibethicus
Length: 20–35 cm (8–10 in)
Weight: 0.6–2 kg (1.3–4.4 lb)

Quick Facts Courtesy of Live Science

  • The muskrat is native to North America. In the early 20th century, though, the animal was introduced to northern Eurasia, according to the Animal Diversity Web (ADW). They are now found in Ukraine, Russia, adjacent areas of China and Mongolia and the Honshu Island in Japan.
  • Muskrats are very social and live in large, territorial families, according to the ADW. They communicate with others and mark their territory with a secretion from their glands called musk. The scent serves as a warning to intruders.
  • Muskrats aren’t picky. In fact, they will even resort to cannibalism in their own family, according to the ADW. Mostly though, they tend to prefer vegetation like cattails, waterlilies, roots and pondweed. They also eat snails, mussels, salamanders, crustaceans, fish and young birds.
  • These small animals are very big eaters. Muskrats eat one-third of their weight every day, according to the ADW. Though they need a large supply of food, muskrats usually don’t travel any farther than 150 feet (46 meters) away from their homes.
  • Though not great on land, muskrats are fantastic swimmers. They can hold their breath under water for 12 to 17 minutes, according to the ADW. They can swim up to about 3 mph (5 km/h) thanks to their paddle-like webbed feet. Muskrats can even swim backward.

If you’re a fan of original content like those photos above be sure to give our Instagram and Dickie’s Backyard Bird Blind Bonanza on FB a follow and consider making a donation.




Nugget at Richmond SPCA

Who doesn’t love to treat themselves every now and again? A new outfit, a trip to the movies, a milkshake, or maybe even a Nugget. That’s me! I’m thinking it’s time I get myself a new home to call my own. I need a little time to assess the situation when I’m meeting new people, but once we’re friends we are friends for life! If you wanna team up with me, have your people call my people.

Age: 3 years, 11 months
Gender: Neutered Male
Color: Black / Blue
Size: L (dog size guide)
ID: 44013649

Adopt Nugget at the Richmond SPCA

In response to COVID-19 and in order to reduce visitor traffic, observe necessary social distancing and to best protect the health and wellbeing of thier staff and members of the public, Richmond SPCA has transitioned to adoptions by appointment only. Please review their adoption appointment process.

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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 RACC or Richmond SPCA.

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Where Spotted: Shield Lake
Common Name: Ring-billed Gull
Scientific Name: Larus delawarensis
Length: 16.9-21.3 in (43-54 cm)
Weight: 10.6-24.7 oz (300-700 g)
Wingspan: 41.3-46.1 in (105-117 cm)

Quick Facts Courtesy of Cornell Labs

  • Ring-billed Gulls near Tampa Bay, Florida, became accustomed to feasting on garbage at an open landfill site. Then, in 1983, operators replaced the dumping grounds with closed incinerators. The thwarted scavengers found themselves another open dump, but the pattern continues all across the gull’s range. When waste-management practices shift from open landfills to closed incinerators, gull numbers often drop.
  • Some Ring-billed Gull nests at study sites in California and Oregon contained pebbles the size and shape of gull eggs. The parents apparently pulled the pebbles into their nests from the surrounding ground, mistaking them for eggs gone astray.
  • Ring-billed Gull nesting colonies normally include a small percentage of two-female couples. Fertilized by an obliging male, each female spouse lays a clutch of eggs, leading to 5–7-egg “superclutches.”
  • Many, if not most, Ring-billed Gulls return to breed at the colony where they hatched. Once they have bred, they are likely to return to the same breeding spot each year, often nesting within a few meters of the last year’s nest site. Many individuals return to the same wintering sites each winter too.
  • Although it is considered a typical large white-headed gull, the Ring-billed Gull has been known to hybridize only with smaller, black-headed species, such as Franklin’s, Black-headed, and Laughing gulls.
  • Migrating Ring-billed Gulls apparently use a built-in compass to navigate. When tested at only two days of age, chicks showed a preference for magnetic bearings that would take them in the appropriate direction for their fall migration. The gulls also rely on landmarks and high-altitude winds to provide directional cues.
  • The oldest recorded Ring-billed Gull was at least 27 years, 6 months old when it was found in New York.

If you’re a fan of original content like those photos above be sure to give our Instagram and Dickie’s Backyard Bird Blind Bonanza on FB a follow and consider making a donation.




Pebble at Richmond SPCA

 

Why hello there. My name is Pebble and i’m a sweet quiet gal who enjoys a nice window to lounge in or a comfy bed to waste away the afternoon in. I’m not all naps and sunshine though I still have some spunk in me and enjoy a nice laser pointer session or a wand toy. If I sound like the gal for you then give the Richmond SPCA a call to learn more about me.

Age: 8 years, 1 month
Gender: Spayed Female
Color: Brown
Declawed: No
ID: 46466038

Adopt Pebble at the Richmond SPCA

In response to COVID-19 and in order to reduce visitor traffic, observe necessary social distancing and to best protect the health and wellbeing of thier staff and members of the public, Richmond SPCA has transitioned to adoptions by appointment only. Please review their adoption appointment process.

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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 RACC or Richmond SPCA.

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Where Spotted: Wetlands
Common Name: Gadwall
Scientific Name: Mareca strepera
Length: 18.1-22.4 in (46-57 cm)
Weight: 17.6-44.1 oz (500-1250 g)
Wingspan: 33.1 in (84 cm)

Quick Facts Courtesy of Cornell Lab

  • Gadwall sometimes steal food from American Coots and from other ducks.
  • Gadwall have increased in numbers since the 1980s, partly because of conservation of wetlands and adjacent uplands in their breeding habitat through the Conservation Reserve Program and the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. Their habit of nesting on islands within marshes gives them some protection from predators.
  • Female Gadwall produce an egg a day while they are laying their 7–12-egg clutches. To meet their demand for protein during this stressful time, female Gadwall eat more invertebrates than males during this period—in addition to using reserves of nutrients they’ve stored in their bodies during the winter.
  • The oldest known Gadwall was a male, and at least 19 years, 6 months old. He was banded in Saskatchewan in 1962 and shot during hunting season in Louisiana in 1981.

If you’re a fan of original content like those photos above be sure to give our Instagram and Dickie’s Backyard Bird Blind Bonanza on FB a follow and consider making a donation.




Wheat Thin at Richmond SPCA

Hi! My name is Wheat Thin and I’m a cute, curious lady looking for my place in this world and I hope that it’s with you! I love to play with toys and then have a cuddle session afterwards. I am quite silly and sure to keep you smiling with my antics. If you’d like to take me home, call the Richmond SPCA adoption center to schedule a time to meet me!

Age: 4 years, 5 months
Gender: Spayed Female
Color: Black / White
Size: XL (dog size guide)
ID: 45419238

 

Adopt Wheat Thin at the Richmond SPCA

In response to COVID-19 and in order to reduce visitor traffic, observe necessary social distancing and to best protect the health and wellbeing of our staff and members of the public, Richmond SPCA have transitioned to adoptions by appointment only. Please review their adoption appointment process.

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