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Exploring Nature Educational Resource:

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West Virginia

West Virginia

West Virginia is a rugged, mountainous state located in the Appalachian Region (a 205,000-square-mile region that follows the spine of the Appalachian Mountains from southern New York to northern Mississippi) on the Cumberland and Allegheny Plateaus.

There are almost 12 million acres of forest in West Virginia, covering 78% of the state. This makes WV the third most forested state in the United States and 94% are hardwoods forests. 83% of West Virginia's forests are owned by private landowners and 98% are available for harvest. The dominant forest type is oak/hickory Forest (71%). Northern hardwood forest make up 20% of West Virginia's forests, followed by small portions of oak/pine forest, loblolly/shortleaf pine forest and elm/ash/red maple forest.

At the highest elevations in West Virginia's mountains, there are boreal spruce forests with an understory of rhododendron and mountain holly shrubs. On lower elevation ridges and dry upper slopes, there are oak forests and mixed forests on richer lower slopes.
Riparian forests (on the floodplains of waterways) have trees like silver maple, sycamore, ash, and pin oak that tolerate sporadically wet soils. More consistently wet soils are found in conifer swamps with balsam fir, hemlock, and spruce dominating. Other West Virginia wetlands that lack trees include shrub swamps, wet meadows, seeps, bogs, and fens.
Wetlands are very important habitats. They provide valuable wildlife habitat, stabilize shorelines and protect the land from storm surges and flooding. They act as filters to pollutants that run off the land from farms, towns and cities. Yet, for generations, people saw wetlands as dangerous and wasted land and set about filling them in and covering them over. It wasn't until late in the 1900s that people realized the vital importance of wetlands and set about protecting and reclaiming them.
Before European settlement, 25% of West Virginia was made up of wetlands. Today only 1% of the state's wetlands remain.

Though West Virginia has valuable habitats above ground, it also an abundance of caves. The West Virginia Association for Cave studies has surveyed more than 350 miles of cave passages in the state. West Virginia's underground is also rich in valuable minerals and materials, the most significant being coal.

For more information about West Virginia's Habitats (off-site): Ecology LINK or Forestry LINK or Wetland LINK

West Virginia

List of Mammals for this State

bat (big brown)
bat (eastern pipistrelle)
bat (eastern red)
bat (eastern small-footed myotis)
bat (evening)
bat (gray myotis)
bat (hoary)
bat (Indiana myotis)
bat (little brown myotis)
bat (northern)
bat (Rafinesque's)
bat (silver-haired)
bat (Virginia big-eared)
bear (black)
beaver
boar (wild)
bobcat
chipmunk (eastern)
coyote
deer (white-tailed)
fisher
fox (gray)
fox (red)
hare (snowshoe)
lemming (southern bog)
mink
mole (eastern)
mole (hairy-tailed)  
mole (star-nosed)
mountain lion
mouse (eastern harvest)
mouse (deer)
mouse (golden)
mouse (house)
mouse (meadow jumping)
mouse (white-footed)
mouse (woodland jumping)
muskrat
opossum (Virginia)
otter (river)
pig (feral)
porcupine
rabbit (eastern cottontail)  
raccoon
rat (black)
rat (Norway)
shrew (least)
shrew (long-tailed)
shrew (masked)
shrew (northern short-tailed)
shrew (pygmy)
shrew (smoky)
shrew (southeastern)
shrew (water)
skunk (eastern spotted)
skunk (striped)
squirrel (fox)
squirrel (gray)
squirrel (northern flying)
squirrel (red)
squirrel (southern flying)
vole (meadow)
vole (prairie)
vole (rock)
vole (southern red-backed)
vole (woodland)
weasel (least)
weasel (long-tailed)
woodchuck
woodrat (Allegheny)

For more information about West Virginia's mammals (including Latin names) click on individual animal links or for another (off-site) resource: LINK

Coloring Mammals of this State

West Virginia

Labeling Mammals of this State

West Virginia

List of Amphibians & Reptiles for This State

Amphibians
bullfrog (American)
frog (Blanchard's cricket)
frog (eastern cricket)
frog (mountain chorus)
frog (northern green)
frog (northern leopard)
frog (pickerel)
frog (upland chorus)
frog (wood)
hellbender (eastern)
mudpuppy (common)
newt (red-spotted) or red eft
salamanders (Allegheny Mountain dusky)
salamanders (black-bellied)
salamanders (Black Mountain)
salamanders (cave)
salamanders (cheat mountain)
salamanders (Cow Knob)
salamanders (Cumberland Plateau)
salamanders (eastern red-backed)
salamanders (four-toed)
salamanders (green)
salamanders (Jefferson)
salamanders (Kentucky spring)
salamanders (marbled)
salamanders (Midland mud)
salamanders (northern dusky)
salamanders (northern ravine)
salamanders (northern slimy)
salamanders (northern spring)
salamanders (northern two-lined)
salamanders (seal)
salamanders (Shenandoah Mountain)
salamanders (small-mouthed)
salamanders (southern ravine)
salamanders (southern two-lined)
salamanders (spotted)
salamanders (valley and ridge)
salamanders (Wehrle's)
salamanders (West Virginia spring)
salamanders (white-spotted slimy)
spring peeper (northern)
toad (eastern American)
toad (eastern spadefoot)
treefrog (gray)


Reptiles
lizard (eastern six-lined racerunner)
lizard (northern fence)
skink (broad-headed)
skink (common five-lined)
skink (little brown)
skink (northern coal)
snake (black rat)
snake (common ribbon)
snake (common water)
snake (eastern black king)
snake (eastern garter)
snake (eastern hog-nosed)
snake (eastern milk)
snake (eastern smooth earth)
snake (eastern worm)
snake (mountain earth)
snake (northern black)
snake (northern brown)
snake (northern copperhead)
snake (northern pine)
snake (northern red-bellied)
snake (northern ring-necked)
snake (northern rough green)
snake (queen)
snake (smooth green)
snake (timber rattlesnake)
turtle (eastern box)
turtle (eastern painted)
turtle (eastern river cooter)
turtle (eastern snapping)
turtle (eastern spiny softsell)
turtle (Midland painted)
turtle (Midland smooth softshell)
turtle (northern map)
turtle (northern red-bellied cooter)
turtle (Ouachita map)
turtle (red-eared)
turtle (spotted)
turtle (stinkpot)
turtle (wood)

For more information about West Virginia's reptiles and Amphibians (including Latin names) click on individual animal links or for another (off-site) resource: LINK

Coloring Amphibians & Reptiles of this State

West Virginia

Labeling Amphibians & Reptiles of this State

West Virginia

Bird List for This State

avocet (American)
bittern (American)
bittern (least)
blackbird (Brewer's)
blackbird (red-winged)
blackbird (rusty)
blackbird (yellow-headed)
bluebird (eastern)
bobolink
bobwhite (northern)
bunting (indigo)
bunting (lark)
bunting (snow)
cardinal (northern)
catbird (gray)
chat (yellow-breasted)
chickadee (black-capped)
chickadee (boreal)
chickadee (Carolina)
chuck-will's-widow
coot (American)
cormorant (double-crested)
cormorant (great)
cowbird (brown-headed)
crane (sandhill)
creeper (brown)
crossbill (red)
crossbill (white-winged)
crow (American)
crow (fish)
cuckoo (black-billed)
cuckoo (yellow-billed)
dickcissel
dove (inca)
dove (mourning)
dowitcher (long-billed)
dowitcher (short-billed)
duck (American black)
duck (American wigeon)
duck (black scoter)
duck (blue-winged teal)
duck (bufflehead)
duck (canvasback)
duck (common goldeneye)
duck (Eurasian wigeon)
duck (gadwall)
duck (green-winged teal)
duck (greater scaup)
duck (harlequin)
duck (king eider)
duck (lesser scaup)
duck (long-tailed)
duck (mallard)
duck (northern pintail)
duck (northern shoveler)
duck (redhead)
duck (ring-necked)
duck (ruddy)
duck (surf scoter)
duck (white-winged scoter)
duck (wood)
dunlin
eagle (bald)
eagle (golden)
egret (cattle)
egret (great)
egret (snowy)
falcon (gyrfalcon)
falcon (peregrine)
finch (house)
finch (purple)
flicker (northern)
flycatcher (Acadian)
flycatcher (alder)
flycatcher (ash-throated)
flycatcher (great-crested)
flycatcher (least)
flycatcher (Nutting's)
flycatcher (olive-sided)
flycatcher (scissor-tailed)
flycatcher (willow)
flycatcher (yellow-bellied)
gallinule (purple)
gnatcatcher (blue-gray)
godwit (Hudsonian)
godwit (marbled)
goldfinch (American)
goose (Brant)
goose (cackling)
goose (Canada)
goose (great white-fronted)
goose (Ross's)
goose (snow)
grackle (common)
great knot
grèbe (eared)
grèbe (horned)
grèbe (pied-billed)
grèbe (red-necked)
grosbeak (black-headed)
grosbeak (blue)
grosbeak (evening)
grosbeak (pine)
grosbeak (rose-breasted)
grouse (ruffed)
gull (Bonaparte’s)
gull (Franklin's)
gull (glaucous)
gull (herring)
gull (Iceland)
gull (greater black-backed)
gull (laughing)
gull (lesser black-backed)
gull (ring-billed)
gull (Sabine's)
harrier (northern)
hawk (broad-winged)
hawk (Cooper's)
hawk (northern goshawk)
hawk (red-shouldered)
hawk (red-tailed)
hawk (rough-legged)
hawk (sharp-shinned)
hawk (Swainson's)
heron (black-crowned night)
heron (great blue)
heron (green)
heron (little blue)
heron (tri-colored)
heron (yellow-crowned night)
hummingbird (black-chinned)
hummingbird (green violet-ear)
hummingbird (ruby-throated)
hummingbird (rufous)
ibis (glossy)
ibis (white)
jaeger (long-tailed)
jaeger (parasitic)
jay (blue)
junco (dark-eyed)
kestrel (American)
killdeer
kingbird (eastern)
kingbird (western)
kingfisher (belted)
kinglet (golden-crowned)
kinglet (ruby-crowned)
kite (swallow-tailed)
kittiwake  (black-legged)
lark (horned)
longspur (Lapland)
longspur (Smith's)
loon (common)
loon (red-throated)
magpie black-billed)
martin (purple)
meadowlark (eastern)
meadowlark (western)
merlin
merganser (common)
merganser (hooded)
merganser (red-breasted)
mockingbird (northern)
moorhen (common)
nighthawk (common)
nighthawk (lesser)
nuthatch (red-breasted)
nuthatch (white-breasted)
oriole (Baltimore)
oriole (orchard)
osprey
ovenbird
owl (barn)
owl (barred)
owl (eastern screech)
owl (great horned)
owl (long-eared)
owl (northern saw-whet)
owl (short-eared)
owl (snowy)
parula (northern)
pelican (American white)
phalarope (red)
phalarope (red-necked)
phalarope (Wilson's)
pheasant (ring-necked)
phoebe (eastern)
pigeon (rock)
pipit (American)
plover (American golden)
plover (black-bellied)
plover (piping)
plover (semipalmated)
rail (king)
rail (Virginia)
rail (yellow)
raven (common)
red knot
redpoll (common)
redpoll (hoary)
redstart (American)
robin (American)
sanderling
sandpiper (Baird's)
sandpiper (buff-breasted)
sandpiper (least)
sandpiper (pectoral)
sandpiper (semipalmated)
sandpiper (solitary)
sandpiper (spotted)
sandpiper (stilt)
sandpiper (upland)
sandpiper (western)
sandpiper (white-rumped)
shrike (loggerhead)
shrike (northern)
siskin (pine)
sora
snipe (Wilson's)
sparrow (American tree)
sparrow (Bachman's)
sparrow (chipping)
sparrow (clay-colored)
sparrow (field)
sparrow (fox)
sparrow (grasshopper)
sparrow (Harris's)
sparrow (Henlow's)
sparrow (house)
sparrow (lark)
sparrow (LeConte's)
sparrow (Lincoln's)
sparrow (Nelson's sharp-tailed)
sparrow (Savannah)
sparrow (song)
sparrow (swamp)
sparrow (vesper)
sparrow (white-crowned)
sparrow (white-throated)
starling
stilt (black-necked)
stork (wood)
swallow (bank)
swallow (barn)
swallow (cliff)
swallow (northern rough-winged)
swallow (tree)
swan (mute)
swan (trumpeter)
swan (tundra)
swift (chimney)
tanager (scarlet)
tanager (summer)
tern (black)
tern (Caspian)
tern (common)
tern (Forster's)
tern (least)
tern (sooty)
thrasher (brown)
thrush (Bicknell's)
thrush (gray-cheeked)
thrush (hermit)
thrush (Swainson's)
thrush (varied)
thrush (wood)
titmouse (tufted)
towhee (eastern)
towhee (green-tailed)
towhee (spotted)
turkey (wild)
turnstone (ruddy)
veery
vireo (blue-headed)
vireo (Philadelphia)
vireo (red-eyed)
vireo (warbling)
vireo (white-eyed)
vireo (yellow-throated)
vulture (black)
vulture (turkey)
warbler (bay-breasted)
warbler (black and white)
warbler (blackburnian)
warbler (blackpoll)
warbler (black-throated blue)
warbler (black-throated green)
warbler (blue-winged)
warbler (Canada)
warbler (Cape May)
warbler (Cerulean)
warbler (chestnut-sided)
warbler (Connecticut)
warbler (golden-winged)
warbler (hooded)
warbler (Kentucky)
warbler (magnolia)
warbler (mourning)
warbler (Nashville)
warbler (orange-crowned)
warbler (palm)
warbler (pine)
warbler (prairie)
warbler (prothonotary)
warbler (Swainson's)
warbler (Tennessee)
warbler (Virginia's)
warbler (Wilson's)
warbler (worm-eating)
warbler (yellow)
warbler (yellow-rumped)
warbler (yellow-throated)
waterthrush (Louisiana)
waterthrush (northern)
waxwing (Bohemian)
waxwing (cedar)
whimbrel
whip-poor-will
willet
woodcock (American)
woodpecker (downy)
woodpecker (hairy)
woodpecker (pileated)
woodpecker (red-bellied)
woodpecker (red-headed)
woodpecker (yellow-bellied sapsucker)
wood-pewee (eastern)
wren (Bewick's)
wren (Carolina)
wren (house)
wren (marsh)
wren (sedge)
wren (winter)
yellowlegs (greater)
yellowlegs (lesser)
yellowthroat (common)

For more information about West Virginia's birds (including Latin names) click on individual bird links here: LINK

Coloring Birds of this State

West Virginia

Labeling Birds of this State

West Virginia

State Symbols of this State

West Virginia

Recommended Book/Product

All About Animals Flip Chart Set
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Set Includes the following 10 charts:

  1. The Animal Kingdom
  2. Vertebrates
  3. Invertebrates
  4. Animal Ranges
  5. Physical Adaptations
  6. Behavioral Adaptations
  7. Animal Life Cycles
  8. Animal Locomotion
  9. Animal Habitats
  10. Animal Tracks and Signs
All About Animals Flip Chart Set

Citing Research References

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When citing a WEBSITE the general format is as follows.
Author Last Name, First Name(s). "Title: Subtitle of Part of Web Page, if appropriate." Title: Subtitle: Section of Page if appropriate. Sponsoring/Publishing Agency, If Given. Additional significant descriptive information. Date of Electronic Publication or other Date, such as Last Updated. Day Month Year of access < URL >.

Here is an example of citing this page:

Amsel, Sheri. "West Virginia" Exploring Nature Educational Resource ©2005-2017. February 27, 2017
< http://exploringnature.org/db/view/838 >

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