Flora and fauna

Native to Virginia are 12 varieties of oak, 5 of pine, and 2 each of walnut, locust, gum, and popular. Pines predominate in the coastal areas, with numerous hardwoods on slopes and ridges inland; isolated stands of persimmon, ash, cedar, and basswood can also be found. Characteristic wild flowers include trailing arbutus, mountain laurel, and diverse azaleas and rhododendrons. In 2003, 15 plant species were listed as threatened or endangered in Virginia, including the Virginia round-leaf birch, harperella, Northeastern bulrush, and small whorled pogonia.

Among indigenous mammalian species are white-tailed (Virginia) deer, elk, black bear, bobcat, woodchuck, raccoon, opossum, nutria, red and gray foxes, and spotted and striped skunks, along with several species each of moles, shrews, bats, squirrels, deermice, rats, and rabbits; the beaver, mink, and river otter, once thought to be endangered, have returned in recent decades. Principal game birds include the ruffed grouse (commonly called pheasant in Virginia), wild turkey, bobwhite quail, mourning dove, woodcock, and Wilson's snipe. Tidal waters abound with croaker, hogfish, gray and spotted trout, and flounder; bass, bream, bluegill, sunfish, perch, carp, catfish, and crappie live in freshwater ponds and streams. Native reptiles include such poisonous snakes as the northern copperhead, eastern cottonmouth, and timber rattler.

In 2003, 56 animal species were listed as threatened or endangered in Virginia, including the Delmarva Peninsula fox and Virginia northern flying squirrels; Indiana, gray, and Virginia big-eared bats; bald eagle; red-cockaded woodpecker; Virginia fringed mountain snail; Lee County cave isopod; eight species of pearlymussel; three species of pigtoe; tan riffleshell; and three species of whale. At last one-fourth of the rare or endangered species in the state are found in the Dismal Swamp.