How to spot native wildlife in Richmond, VA


Salamanders, they’re just like us: Spotted pals hang out on rocks by a river. | Photo by via VA State Parks

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Back in winter, reader Molly D. asked us what local wildlife Richmonders can spot while out and about town. Whether you’re exploring the James River Park System, strolling around Maymont, or exploring regional parks, here are 20+ animals you may happen across.

🐿 Mammals

Nutzy isn’t the only squirrel in town. You probably see gray squirrels most often in the city, recognizable due to their bushy tails. Fun fact: A single gray squirrel may bury 1,000 nuts in just a year.

The Virginia opossum is a common animal to spot around Richmond. They are nocturnal, but have been known to bask in the River City sun.

Other mammals that are native to VA include eastern cottontail bunnies, red foxes, white-tailed deer, and raccoons.

🐦 Birds

Birdwatchers don’t have to go far to see common “backyard birds” such as the European Starling, American Robin, Blue Jay, House Finch, and Red-bellied Woodpecker.

If you’re down for a drive, check out Chickahominy Riverfront Park in James City County. There, you can spot ospreys, bald eagles, egrets, and great blue herons.

🐸 Amphibians

The State Dept. of Wildlife Resources has a guide to the frogs and toads that call Virginia home. Among them: the American Bullfrog, Wood Frog, Little Grass Frog, and Eastern American Toad.

There’s also a guide to salamanders if you see one scurrying around by the river. There’s a certain one you’ve probably seen around town — the Friends of the James River Park group has a Yellow-Spotted Salamander as its logo.

🐢 Reptiles

Lizards, snakes, and turtles are all common in Central VA. Racerunners, geckos, copperheads, cottonmouths, painted + spotted turtles as well as terrapins can all be found in the region.

The T. Pott Bridge is a go-to spot to see turtles if you’re walking south across the bridge, look down to the left when you’ve almost reached the other side.

That’s not anim-all you’ll find exploring the outdoors in Richmond. For a complete list of VA’s native and naturalized fauna, click here.

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