Regina Septemvittata – Queen Snake

Regina Septemvittata - Queen Snake information

The queen snake is a non-venomous snake that can be found in or around water and feeds almost exclusively on crayfish. It occurs in the Eastern United States and in Southeastern Canada.


The base color of the quen snake is greenish brown to very dark brown or grey. The scales are slightly keeled and the body appears long and slender. The queen snake often has two lighter, yellow or cream-colored, stripes along the lower sides. The main identification mark of the queen snake are the four longitudinal dark stripes along the belly. They are sometimes erratic in shape on a white-yellow base color.

Regina Septemvittata - Queen Snake information
A brown queen snake where the stripes on the side are not visible.

Some specimen with clearly visible light stripes on the sides can be confused with garter snakes. A definitive identification mark are the four stripes on the belly – garter snakes do not have these markings.

Regina septemvittata queen snake belly coloration black stripes on white
The stripes along the belly of the queen snake. Photo: Wikimedia Commons


Queen snakes are a medium-sized snake species. Adults grow to an average length of 20-25 inches (50-65 cm). Very large specimen can grow to a maximum length of 35 inches (90 cm).

Regina Septemvittata - Queen Snake swimming in water found in Georgia
A dark queen snake found in Georgia. Photo: Greg Gilbert

Hunting Behavior and Habitat

Regina septemvittata has a special food specialization: It feeds almost exclusively from small crustaceans caught in the water. The snake knows perfectly how to detect the juvenile crayfish with a soft shell. They also eat other small animals such as fish, tadpoles and insects, but always in or near water. Regina septemvittata is therefore strongly bound to water and swims a lot. The snake is active both during day and at night. Its habitat consists of swamps, wet grasslands and rivers along forests and other biotopes where there is both water and vegetation.

Juvenile quen snake eating a crayfish
A juvenile queen snake has taken on a larger meal than it can handle – a hard-shelled crayfish. Photo: Pete & Noe Woods


Queen snakes are non-venomous snakes are generally not aggressive. When the snake feels threatened, it quickly slides into the water to escape. When handled, it does usually not bite but rather release a strong smelling musk from its anal vent. The snake is absolutely harmless for humans or pets.

Queen snake range in the USA

The queen snake can be found in and around the waters of the Eastern United States and Southeastern Canada. In the United States it can be found in the following areas: Arkansas, Southeastern Wisconsin, Northeastern Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Western New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Southwestern Missouri and Northwestern Florida.

Scientific classification of Regina septemvittata

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Reptilia
  • Order: Squamata
  • Suborder: Serpentes
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Genus: Regina
  • Species: Regina septemvittata
Regina Septemvittata – Queen Snake

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