Our Blue Ridge Poison Center has teamed up with the Virginia Master Naturalists to create a fascinating, full-color book on Virginia's venomous and poisonous animals, and you can download it for free.
The authors began working on the book in 2021 in response to the hundreds of exposures to venomous and poisonous animals in Virginia each year. Venomous animals can inject venom by biting, such as certain snakes, while poisonous animals produce toxins that are dangerous to ingest. You want to steer clear of both, most likely, and this book will help you do so.
Each entry includes a description of the animal, its habitat and its geographic range in Virginia. The writeup also identifies the source of the animal's poison or venom and the symptoms exposure can cause. Finally, there's a handy description of possible look-alikes that will cause you no harm. You may not want to kill that black spider after all.
The book is loaded with fascinating details. I had no idea that we have scorpions in Virginia, for example. But there's one venomous scorpion, the southern devil, found in Lee County in far Southwestern Virginia.
Also, don't forget that if you think you have been exposed to something poisonous, been bitten by a creature you think might be venomous or fear you are suffering a drug overdose, you can get free expert advice 24 hours a day by calling the Blue Ridge Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.