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Animals life of Virginia
United States

Before the arrival of European settlers, Virginia was home to large mammals such as the elk, bison, wolf, and mountain lion. Today, as a result of extirpation and habitat loss, the only large mammals remaining are the white-tailed deer, the black bear, and several species of whales in offshore waters. Many species of small mammals occur in the state. Some of these are called fur-bearers because they are game animals prized for their fur, such as the muskrat, beaver, river otter, bobcat, red fox, gray fox, mink, and raccoon. Reptiles such as the eastern box turtle and northern fence lizard are very common, as are amphibians such as the green frog and mud salamander..

There are only three species of venomous snakes—the eastern cottonmouth, the northern copperhead, and the timber rattlesnake. Among nonvenomous snakes, the most frequently seen include the black rat snake and the eastern garter snake.

The Atlantic Flyway, a great pathway for birds migrating along the coast of North America, crosses Virginia, and the state provides important resting and feeding grounds. The tidal rivers and marshes of the Coastal Plain, Eastern Shore, and the Chesapeake Bay provide the aquatic habitat necessary to support thousands of migrating waterfowl such as ducks and geese. Songbirds such as warblers, orioles, and flycatchers also migrate to Virginia, staying during the summer to breed.

Gulls, bitterns, herons, and other shorebirds can be seen around numerous ponds and lakes. Game birds, such as the bobwhite quail, mourning dove, and wild turkey can be found in many fields and meadows. Nongame birds such as the nuthatch, downy woodpecker, and wood thrush are found throughout the state in forested areas. Common birds that can often be seen around human habitation include the mockingbird, American goldfinch, black-capped chickadee, and cardinal, the state bird. Birds of prey, called raptors, include the bald eagle, red-tailed hawk, osprey, and peregrine falcon. Encarta

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