Queen Snake

NON-VENOMOUS

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Scientific name: Regina septemvittata (SAY 1825)
* Currently accepted name

Synonym:
* scientific names used through time

  • Coluber septemvittatus – SAY 1825
  • Tropidonotus leberis – DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854
  • Tropidonotus septemvittatus – BOULENGER 1893
  • Natrix septemvittata – BURT 1933
  • Regina septemvittata – CONANT & COLLINS 1991

Description Average adult size is 14-23 inches (35.5-58.4 cm), record is 36 inches (91.4 cm). Adults are slender, brownish to olive-green, with a yellowish stripe on the lower side of a body. The belly is reddish with two rows of dark spots that converge to form a single stripe beneath the chin and tail. Some individuals may have a predominantly dark belly, or loose their distinctive striped pattern with age, which is only apparent near the head. The scales are keeled and there are 19 dorsal scale rows at midbody. The pupil is round. Juvenile coloratioin is similar to that of adults, but may exhibit three additional stripes along the length of the back.

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A. Top of the head (notice the large plate-like scales on the top of the head)
B. Underside of the head (chin and throat)
C. Keeled scales
D. Side of the head
E. Front (face view) of the head
F. Elongated scales below the tail (subcaudal scales) are typically divided

Range: In Florida, the Queen Snake occurs in the panhandle. Outside of Florida, it occurs north to Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, and Canada. There are disjunct populations in Arkansas and Missouri.

Habitat: Uncommon, found in cypress strands, rivers, streams, creeks, and marshes.

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Comments: HARMLESS (Non-Venomous). The Queen Snake is aquatic. It is occasionally found under rocks and logs near water or basking in vegetation overhanging water. Adults feed primarily on soft-shelled crayfish, but will eat other aquatic invertebrates, tadpoles, and fishes. It is live-bearing, with 10-12 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) has a thin black stripe within the yellowish stripe on the side of the body. The Glossy Crayfish Snake (Regina rigida rigida) has faint, dusky stripes on the sides of the throat.