UVA releases new reference guide about poisonous animals in Virginia

Published: Jan. 3, 2023 at 4:41 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Cleopatra Project is the second book by a group of collaborators. They’re hoping to bring awareness to some uncommon poisonous and venomous animals in Virginia.

The UVA Reference Guide is the project book on what to do if you encounter venomous or poisonous wildlife and knowing what to watch out for.

“We think it’ll be really helpful for the public when they come across these. Exploring nature is really a joy, and we’re trying to get people to go outside more, too, and I think this gives a good opportunity,” UVA Health Blue Ridge Poison Center Medical Director Chris Holstege said.

Alfred Goossens, the project leader, says after the first project about plants, it was important to highlight the wildlife.

“There’s a difference between whether you ingested or whether you get stung or bitten, and we had over 30 of those animals here,” Goossens said.

The Cleopatra Project features animals that aren’t as well know living in Virginia.

“We all know that a couple of snakes here in Virginia, which a portion is going to copperheads. But lots of people don’t know about caterpillars. Lots of people don’t even know we have a scorpion,” Goossens said.

Recognizing these animals can save your life.

“It’s not that we’re worried that people are going to be poisoned, or have become intimated with these animals, but recognizing what they are. And there are times when you want to keep your distance,” Holstege said.

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