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Critters of the Week

Critters of the Week

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

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Where Spotted: Pony Pasture
Common Name: Cicada Killer Wasps
Scientific Name: Sphecius speciosus
Length: 1.5-2 inches

Quick Facts Courtesy of the Smithsonian

  • Females create u-shaped burrows in bare soil. As much as 100 cubic inches of soil may be brought to the surface as tunnels are formed.
  • Cicada Killer Wasps provisions its nest with cicadas.
  • The female then seeks a cicada in the trees, apparently by vision rather than sound, suggested because the majority of her prey are female cicadas which make no sound. Cicadas are usually captured in flight. Cicadas are paralyzed by the venom of the wasp’s sting, and will remain alive during the feeding of the wasp larvae.
  • After stinging the cicada, the female wasp carries it back to her burrow, sometimes a hundred yards away. She sometimes uses the law of physics by climbing a tree or shrub and partly gliding with the cicada in the direction of her burrow. Without the presence of trees or shrubs, she will walk on the ground. The female Cicada Killer lays one egg in a cell with one, two or three cicadas, then seals the chamber.
  • Sometimes skunks may dig up areas that have been extensively tunneled by the wasps to feed on cicadas and wasp larvae.
  • Cicada Killer Wasps are solitary wasps, but can occur in such numbers that they disturb lawns with their burrows. They also will sting if molested.

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Chard at the Richmond SPCA

Are you searching for a fun, friendly and adorable family member? My name is Chard and I’m the girl for you! I am pretty lonely here by myself, just waiting for my special someone to come along. Won’t you please take me home today?

Age: 3 months
Gender: Spayed Female
Color: Brown / White
ID: 50524921

Adopt Chard at Richmond SPCA

Learn more about their adoption 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.