News in Brief: UVA Offers New, Free Book on Poisonous, Venomous Animals in Virginia

Illustration of a stopwatch over an aerial photo of the UVA Health System

January 6, 2023

To help Virginians avoid poisonings from encounters with wildlife, a reference guide to 32 poisonous and venomous animals that live in Virginia is now available as a free, downloadable book.

“The Cleopatra Project: Poisonous and Venomous Animals in Virginia” is filled with full-color photographs and written to be an easily read, valuable reference for parents, educators, health care providers and the general public.  

The book is a collaboration between the Virginia Master Naturalists – a statewide corps of volunteers providing education, outreach and service dedicated to the management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities – the Blue Ridge Poison Center at UVA Health, and the UVA School of Medicine’s Division of Medical Toxicology.  

Last June, UVA Today featured a well-read story with tips about avoiding copperhead snakes from Dr. Chris Holstege, the director of the poison center.

Each document entry in the new book includes a description of the animal, its habitat and likely geographic range in Virginia, the source of poison or venom, potential physical symptoms and possible animal “look-alikes.” 

“The Cleopatra Project” joins a companion downloadable book, “The Socrates Project: Poisonous Plants of Virginia,” which describes the 25 poisonous plants that grow in the wild in Virginia.

Media Contact

Eric Swensen

UVA Health System