Virginia has five ecological regions, each with varying wildlife. There are over 100 species of mammals, 200 endemic bird species, and numerous other fish, amphibians, and reptiles living throughout the state.
Ecoregions include the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain, Central Appalachian Forest, Chesapeake Bay Lowlands, Piedmont, and the South Atlantic Coastal Plain.
Wildlife in Virginia
According to reports, habitat loss is the primary concern of wildlife today. Currently, 93,000 acres of Virginia land have been modified into non-renewable spaces like shopping malls, restaurants, housing, office buildings, etc. Deforestation, for example, to develop residential and commercial properties, eliminates food, water, and shelter that wildlife typically found in forests. They must find other places to survive, like on your land.
The second most significant threat to Virginia wildlife habitats is invasive species that come here from other states and countries. Upon arrival, they reproduce, spread, and push native species out. Climate change is another factor affecting Virginia wildlife. The governor has issued executive orders on climate change. Factors like rising temperatures can impact food, water, and shelter resources for wildlife, affecting their survival rate.
Virginia officials categorize climate into five regions:
Environmental changes drive wildlife into your neighborhood and onto your property. Some may find a way inside your home, like in your attic, basement, and crawl spaces. You can expect to encounter diverse wildlife at different times of the year.
Nuisance Wildlife Season in Virginia
Virginia experiences the changes and weather patterns associated with all four seasons. You will find a slight temperature difference depending on which region you are in. For example, in the mountain regions, it is typically ten degrees cooler than in other areas. Temperatures help define the seasons and significantly affect wildlife behaviors, some of which may become a nuisance.
Virginia defines nuisance wildlife as one that poses a threat to the public, is causing or threatening to cause damage to your property, or is being so annoying that it prevents you from enjoying your home and property. The Department of Wildlife Resources offers tips on how to handle nuisance wildlife.
Summer (June to August)
Average summer temperatures in Virginia fluctuate between 65 and 95 degrees. Food and water sources are abundant, and wildlife spends much of their time enjoying the various food options. If your property contains a garden, fruit or nut trees, bird feeders, ponds with fish, open trash containers, exposed pet feed, or areas with a lot of insects, you may encounter wildlife.
Fall (September to November)
In Virginia, the fall is when temperatures start to cool down, with the highs near 80 degrees and the lows around 40 degrees. This change in temperature means animals in the sea and on land may begin to migrate to warmer areas. Fall is also when non-native species from colder climates migrate to Virginia.
Nuisance wildlife that stays here continue searching for food, water, and shelter. Those that hibernate are gathering food and storing it in the last few months. Those that don’t hibernate have a stronger desire to find shelter, like in your chimney, attic, crawlspace, or basement, to escape the cooler nights.
Winter (November to Mid-March)
Depending on where you live in Virginia, temperatures range from single digits to the 50s. Many areas get several inches of snowfall. Virginia winter means migration and an influx of wildlife searching for warmer weather, creating competition and less food, water, and shelter for wildlife. They may search for these in your neighborhood, along with other nuisance wildlife.
Spring (Late March to May)
Temperatures in Virginia rise during spring, reaching the 60s during the day. Spring is a time when everything comes back to life. Dormant animals are out and curious. Non-native birds are traveling back to their Northern homes. Many wildlife has given birth, like raccoons and squirrels. Some are about to give birth, like weasels, minks, and bats. Also coming back to life are the food resources available on your property.