Queen Snake

By William T. Hathaway

Queen Snake (Regina septemvittata)

The Queen Snake (Regina septemvittata) is a water snake that ranges from 15 to 30 in. in length. Its topside coloration varies from brown to grayish-tan; the underside is yellowish with four brown stripes. Its small head has a lower stripe that appears as a yellow lip. The keeled scales are prominent as can be seen in the lower picture.

They inhabit shallow streams and rivers in the mountains and piedmont of Virginia. When in branches that hang over the water, they drop into the water from these branches when approached by hikers. Members of this nonvenomous species are often captured from under stones and debris along the edge of the water. Soft-shelled crayfish (having recently shed their skin) make up the major portion of the Queen Snake's diet.

(Also see other snakes.)