Glossy Crayfish Snake
Scientific name: Regina rigida rigida (SAY 1825)
* Currently accepted name
* scientific names used through time
- Coluber rigidus – SAY 1825
- Tropidonotus rigidus – HOLBROOK 1842
- Regina rigida – BAIRD & GIRARD 1853
- Tropidonotus leberis, var. rigidus – JAN 1865
- Natrix rigida – COPE 1892
- Natrix rigida rigida – HUHEEY 1959
- Nerodia rigida – CONANT 1978
- Liodytes rigida – PRICE 1983
- Regina rigida rigida – CONANT & COLLINS 1991
Description: Average adult size is 14-23 inches (35.5-58.4 cm), record is 31 inches (78.7 cm). Adults are glossy brown to olive brown, there may be a faint darker stripe on the back and another one each side. The extreme lower sides are yellowish-tan. The throat is streaked with brown pigment. The belly is yellow or cream with two rows of black spots. The scales are keeled and there are 19 dorsal scale rows at midbody. The pupil is round. Juveniles are similar to that of adults.
A. Top of the head
B. Underside of the head (chin and throat)
C. Front (face view) of the head
D. Side of the head
E. Smooth scales
F. Elongated scales below the tail (subcaudal scales) are typically divided
Range: In Florida, the Glossy Crayfish Snake occurs from the central peninsula northwest into the panhandle. Outside of Florida, it occurs north along the Atlantic coast to Virginia.
Habitat: Uncommon, found in cypress strands, sloughs, sphagnum bogs, swamps, creeks, and streams.
Comments: HARMLESS (Non-Venomous). The Glossy Crayfish Snake is aquatic. It is also occasionally found burrowed beneath logs and crossing roads after heavy rains. Adults feed primarily on crayfish, fishes, frogs, and salamanders. Juveniles may also feed on aquatic invertebrates such as dragonfly larvae. It is live-bearing, with breeding occuring in the spring and young born in the summer months.
Comparison with other species: The Striped Crayfish Snake (Regina alleni) has an unpatterned belly and smooth scales. The Gulf Crayfish Snake (Regina rigida sinicola) lacks the faint, dusky stripes on the sides of the throat. The Queen Snake (Regina septemvittata) has four stripes on the belly.