There are more than 250 species of plants and animals located in the state of Virginia. The Virginia Living Museum is home to some of these species, including 12 that have been declared endangered. The museum has a different concept to traditional museums. It showcases living exhibits to its visitors as a way of highlighting the diverse nature of the wildlife in Virginia. By doing so, it connects its visitors to nature in a way that they would not have gotten a chance to experience while exploring in the wild.
Here are some of the rarest species in Virginia Living Museum that are seldom seen in their natural habitats.
Special Thanks to Perv Moms
We should issue a special statement with huge thanks to a group of women that helped preparing us the list below. Perv mothers, because we are talking about them, are from totally different industry but they love the state of Virginia and its nature. While by the week days they play in this controversial series called PervMom (it’s actually about perverted step mothers taking care of house… and step sons in a special way), on weekends they love spending time with nature and getting to know new, unknown to them species of animals.
Here we go!
1. Red Wolf
Despite their title, not all red wolves are red in color. They are actually found in a variety of colors which include grey, brown, yellow or red. However, most species usually have a red tint behind their ears and legs, hence the name. Red wolves are some of the rarest animal species to find in the wild, as they were hunted to near-extinction in the 80s.
They are also pack animals, much like other types of wolves. Their packs consist of five to eight wolves and each pack has a pair of male and female dominant leaders. They are also incredibly territorial and have been witnessed fiercely protecting their homes from predators, as well as other wolf packs. The Virginia Living Museum currently has a red wolf enclosure, home to two young red wolves along with their father.
2. American Alligator
The American alligator is another species that almost faced extinction due to humanity’s demand for alligator products as well as the destruction of their habitats. However, preservation efforts by both conservationists and government agencies helped improve the species’ population.
These alligators are commonly found in the southeast part of the United States and are said to descend from the dinosaur family. The males can reach a maximum length of 15 feet while the females grow to a maximum of 9.8 feet. However, their hatchlings are usually quite small (6 to 8 inches on average) and their juveniles are usually preyed on by other predators like bobcats as well as other alligators.
3. Shortnose Sturgeon
This fish species dates back to the prehistoric period. They are different from other fish because of their cartilaginous skeleton, scutes (hard body plates) instead of scales and their spiral valve stomach. The shortnose sturgeon faces extinction due to the rampant overharvesting of the fish and destruction of their habitats. Preservation efforts by government agencies and conservation centers have enabled the species to thrive, though it is still listed as an endangered species in the Federal Endangered Species Act.
4. Bald Eagle
Also known as the national bird of the US, the bald eagle was once a common feature on the list of highly endangered species in the United States. This was largely due to the use of DDT which weakened their eggs, preventing more birds from being hatched into the population. However, its ban, together with concerted efforts of conservationists, helped to reintroduce a sizeable number of these birds back into the population.
You can find a number of these bald eagles at the Virginia Living Museum.
5. Wood Turtle
This turtle species is currently listed as highly endangered due to its dwindling population. They face threats to their habitat which include degradation of waterways, careless lumbering practices in areas near waterways and channelization of rivers. They have also been affected by pesticide use which spreads into water bodies.
These animals are usually omnivorous and spend a considerable amount of their lives under water. They usually come out during late spring and early fall to forage for food and to mate. Restoration efforts have proven difficult because of the number of years that wood turtles usually take in order to reach sexual maturity. Furthermore, their eggs are highly predated by snakes, birds and other animals. The Virginia Living Museum has one such turtle on exhibition.
6. Eastern Glass Lizard
The population of this species is at alarming levels worldwide. The eastern glass lizard is legless and resembles a snake. However, it slightly differs from the snake due to its moveable eyelids and inflexible jaw, among other things. Its tail is usually twice the size of the lizard’s body and can easily break off if seized by a predator. This allows the lizard to escape while its attacker is distracted by the wiggling tail.
This lizard spends most of its time underground and is seldom spotted out in the wild. It’s carnivorous in nature and can be found in the grassy areas of Virginia during the summer. It goes into hibernation from October to March.
7. Loggerhead Sea Turtle
The loggerhead sea turtle usually inhabits the warm waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. It has been on the endangered list for a long time because the sandy beaches on which it lays its eggs have been disappearing at alarming rates. Water pollution has significantly affected the loggerhead sea turtle as well.
These turtles usually eat creatures located at the bottom of the sea such as crabs and shellfish. Given the fact that they usually spend a lot of time underwater, it can be hard to get a glimpse of a loggerhead sea turtle in the wild.
8. Roanoke Logperch
The logperch is listed as a critically endangered fish species. It’s a freshwater fish and can grow up to 5.5 inches long. This fish species usually flourishes in clear, unpolluted and unaltered river systems. Unfortunately, many river systems are now polluted. This has resulted in the diminished population of the Roanoke logperch. Several conservationists have begun efforts to secure habitats where the logperch exists.
There are many endangered species that can be found in the Virginia Living Museum that will help you to appreciate the diverse nature of wildlife. The facility is located on 20 acres of land and even has a one-mile long trail system that is suitable for both kids and adults. This is a must-visit educational landmark in the state of Virginia.
Here are some of the other attractions in Virginia and Culpeper County.