raccoons were common before Europeans arrived in the 1500's - and are still common today
When Europeans reached the Chesapeake Bay in the 1500's, they encountered Native Americans who had domesticated one animal. Dogs had migrated with the Paleo-Indians into North America. Wolves had been domesticated in Asia and perhaps the Middle East, perhaps in two separate places initially, about 15,000 years ago.
It is possible that first people to reach the Atlantic Ocean 20,000 years ago, when sea level was 400' lower and before the Chesapeake Bay had formed, arrived without dogs as companions, hunting assistants, and food. Later migrants from Asia, moving across the Bering Land Bridge, may have brought domesticated dogs later.
Archeologists have excavated remaints of 117 dogs at Weyanoke Old Town near modern Hopewell. The site is the largest collection of indigenous dogs found to date in North America. Analysis of DNA from an indigenous dog skeleton at Jamestown reveals it was related to the population upstream near the Appomattox River.
The English colonists who arrived in 1607 also used indigenous dogs as a food source. Almost all modern dogs are genetically descended from the animals brought by colonists; the indigenous dogs disappeared from the landscape. To the English, the Native American dogs resembled foxes. In 1612 William Strachey dcumented one distinctive characteristic - the dogs were "barkless":1
many images of Pocahontas are fanciful - but it is realistic to picture dogs with Native Americans when Jamestown was founded in 1607
Source: Elmer Boyd Smith, The Story of Pocahontas and Captain John Smith (1906)
John Smith wrote fascinating reports of the plant and animal life he found in the New World in the early 1600's, and the "time of discovery" extended into the 1700's as Europeans gradually reached the Appalachian plateau in far southwestern Virginia. Speculation was slowly replaced by observation.
John Lederer described seeing a mountain lion killing a deer, in his journal of a 1669 trip up the Pamunkey River to the Blue Ridge:2
State biologists have not documented any mountain lions that may still remain in Virginia, despite regular reports of sightings. The only wildcats today are the much smaller bobcat and the large number of feral pets abandoned by their owners.
Deer are more common today than when the Europeans first reached Virginia, because the habitats have been so heavily altered by farming and then housing development.
One species that was most obvious to the early discoverers was the passenger pigeon. These are now extinct, eliminated not only from Virginia but from the face of the earth. The last one to die, named Martha, has been stuffed and can be seen in a zoo.
modern coyote footprint on Manassas Battlefield National Park (raised pad in middle is uncommon for domestic dogs that walk on hard surfaces)
John James Audubon painted an indigenous dog found on Great Plains, living near teepees rather than the yi-hakins in Virginia
Source: Wikipedia, Hare Indian Dog
in 1670, Augustine Herrman speculated that there were "Tygers, Bears and other Devouringe Creatures" south of the James River
Source: John Carter Brown Library, Virginia and Maryland As it is planted and Inhabited this present Year 1670 (by Augustine Herrman, 1670)