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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 Ricmond SPCA.

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Where Spotted: Pony Pasture
Common Name: Pie-billed Grebe
Scientific Name: Podilymbus podiceps
Length: 11.8-15.0 in (30-38 cm)
Weight: 8.9-20.0 oz (253-568 g)
Wingspan: 17.7-24.4 in (45-62 cm)
Quick Facts Courtesy of Cornell Lab

  • The Latin genus name for “grebe” means “feet at the buttocks”—an apt descriptor for these birds, whose feet are indeed located near their rear ends. This body plan, a common feature of many diving birds, helps grebes propel themselves through water. Lobed (not webbed) toes further assist with swimming. Pied-billed Grebes pay for their aquatic prowess on land, where they walk awkwardly.
  • Pied-billed Grebe chicks typically leave the nest the first day after hatching and spend much of their first week riding around on a parent’s back. They usually spend most of their first 3 weeks on or near the nest platform.
  • Pied-billed Grebes are fairly poor fliers and typically stay on the water—although rare individuals have managed to fly as far as the Hawaiian Islands, Europe, the Azores, and the Canary Islands.
  • Pied-billed Grebes can trap water in their feathers, giving them great control over their buoyancy. They can sink deeply or stay just at or below the surface, exposing as much or as little of the body as they wish. The water-trapping ability may also aid in the pursuit of prey by reducing drag in turbulent water.
  • Like other grebes, the Pied-billed Grebe eats large quantities of its own feathers. Feathers may at times fill up more than half of a grebe’s stomach, and they are sometimes fed to newly hatched chicks. The ingested plumage appears to form a sieve-like plug that prevents hard, potentially harmful prey parts from passing into the intestine, and it helps form indigestible items into pellets which they can regurgitate.
  • When in danger, Pied-billed Grebes sometimes make a dramatic “crash-dive” to get away. A crash-diving grebe pushes its body down with its wings thrust outward. Its tail and head disappears last, while the bird kicks water several feet into the air.
  • The longest-lived Pied-billed Grebe on record was at least 4 years, 7 months old and lived in California.

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Fiddlesticks at Richmond SPCA

Fiddlesticks is an adorable girl that is looking for just the right home and environment for her. If you’re interested in learning more about Fiddlesticks please contact the Richmond SPCA adoption center at 804-521-1307 or visit our humane center to meet with an adoption counselor and Fiddlesticks.

Age: 5 years, 2 months
Gender: Spayed Female
Color: Black / Tan
Size: M (dog size guide)
ID: 40098986

Adopt Fiddlesticks 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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