REPTILES OF THE METRO AREA
METROPOLITAN  NATURALIST
Queen Snake (Regina septemvittata)

The Queen Snake is a common water snake in our area, although it is probably
seen less often than the Northern Water Snake. It prefers to bask in the sun on
leafy branches overhanging the water, where it is well camoflaged, while the
Northern Water Snake often basks in the sun on logs or rocks in plain view of
passers-by. Queen Snakes are said to eat only soft-shelled crayfish, crayfish which
have recently shed their shell, before the new shell has hardened. These snakes
can be found sunning on branches over the water on warm sunny days. They
quickly drop into the water and swim to the bottom when approached. The snake at
left was photographed on the shore of the Gunpowder River. I often used to find
large numbers of these at Lake Roland also. On one sunny spring afternoon in the
late 1970s I counted 23 Queen Snakes on the branches overhanging a shoreline of
Lake Roland.
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The back of the Queen Snake is an olive color. A yellow stripe runs along the
snake's side, just above the belly. The underside of the Queen Snake is yellow
with brown stripes.
A "keel" or ridge on each of the scales can be seen in the picture above.