Queen snakes ( Regina septemvittata) are a nonvenomous species of snake native to North America. They are semi-aquatic in nature and spend most of their time swimming in water bodies looking for prey. Queen snakes range throughout the North American temperate regions and can be found all over America and Southeast Canada.
Unlike other species of the family of snakes, queen snakes are nonvenomous in nature and are often docile, and are not harmful to humans. They do not bite humans or other predators but instead wiggle their way out of harm. They have 19 dorsal rows at the middle of their bodies and are rough to touch, and have scales that are keeled in nature.
They are diurnal in nature but may exhibit nocturnal activities in the summer months. They often hibernate during the winter in underground structures such as burrows and lodges.
Tan and dark brown, yellow stripes running down the sides
What are their main threats?
What is their conservation status?
Where you'll find them
Lakes, rivers, ponds, and other aquatic bodies
Eastern United States, Southeast Canada
Queen Snake Interesting Facts
What type of animal is a queen snake?
The queen snake is a nonvenomous that is semi-aquatic in nature and is native to North America. Queen snakes have small heads and are either slender brown, dark brown, gray, or olive in color with light yellowish stripes running down their side. Their chin and throat are also yellow along with their bellies which also have brown stripes running up to the end of their tails.
What class of animal does a queen snake belong to?
The queen snake (Regina septemvittata) belongs to the genus Reptilia, and to the reptilia family; reptiles are tetrapod vertebrates, i.e., creatures that have either four limbs or like snakes, have four-limbed ancestors.
Most reptiles are oviparous (producing young by means of eggs which are hatched after they have been laid by the parent, as in birds). Reptile eggs are surrounded by membranes for protection and transport, adapting them to reproduction on dry land. The reptile class comprises tortoises, turtles, snakes, lizards, crocodiles, and other more.
How many queen snakes are there in the world?
Unfortunately, there is no record of the exact population of queen snakes, and as these species can be found in abundance, we can only assume that the distribution and population of this species of snakes are more than enough for it to be not considered as threatened or vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.
Where does a queen snake live?
The majority of the queen snake population can be found in and around water bodies as queen snakes are semi-aquatic in nature and prefer being around water sources for easy prey and camouflage. , being semi-aquatic in nature, live in and around water sources like streams, shallow rocky bottoms, ditches, and marshes.
Queen snakes range throughout the region of Piedmont and mountainous regions of the eastern US.
What is a queen snake's habitat?
A vast majority of the queen snake habitat and population can be found around shallow water sources like rivers that have rocky bottoms, streams, lake edges, ditches, canals, marshes, and ponds.
They are mostly found around areas where there is a large crayfish population as crayfish are the main part of their diet. They also hibernate in crayfish burrows and burrows of other mammals in the northern part of their habitat range.
Who do queen snakes live with?
Queen snakes (Regina septemvittata) are solitary animals and prefer to live alone most of their lives. These species only come together when the mating season is near which occurs usually in the spring, during May.
How long does a queen snake live?
Currently, there is no record for the lifespan of the queen snake species in the wildlife. But one captive queen snake is recorded to have lived up to 19 years.
How do they reproduce?
Both the sexes of queen snakes mature at around two years of age, but the females will give birth only after they reach three years of age. Queen snakes come together only during the mating period as they are solitary animals. And as these species are polygynous in nature, the male will mate with multiple females.
Males find females by sensing their surroundings with their tongues and in turn sensing chemical cues that are left by the receptive females. And once they come together, the mating process occurs. Female queen snakes have a gestation period of 90-120 days and provide ample nutrients for the eggs to nurture properly after mating and then give birth to live young. Females carry their eggs within their bodies before giving birth to live young.
The average litter size is about anywhere from 5 to thirty baby snakes, but around 10-12 young snakes are born on average. Since the female does not provide parental care, these young snakes have to fend for themselves after birth.
What is their conservation status?
According to the IUCN Red List, queen snakes are a species of Least Concern on the conservation status list, as these snakes are found in abundance in and around North America with a wide distribution. Their current population is growing at a stable rate. However, with the decrease in the populations of newly molted crayfish, the population of queen snakes will decline as newly molted crayfish are the main part of their diet.
Queen Snake Fun Facts
What do queen snakes look like?
Queen snakes are medium-sized snakes that are slender in nature. Both adults and juveniles have a grayish shade but can range from a shade of light brown to olive green. Their scales are keeled which acts as an easy differentiation factor from other snakes.
They have two lighter shades of yellow or white stripes that run down their sides, with a yellow belly. The females are larger than males.
How cute are they?
Queen snakes are nonvenomous and small in comparison to the much larger snake species that can be found across the globe, which only adds to its cuteness factor. They are cute to look at, especially the young ones which look like the exact tiny replica of the adults.
How do they communicate?
Queen snakes (Regina septemvittata), like all other species of snakes, use smells and other chemical residues when they are looking for prey or mates. They also use their visual perception and acoustic vibrations, i.e., they can sense vibration in the environment. However, little is known about their communication apart from their mating behavior.
How big is a queen snake?
These snakes range from anywhere in between 13-36 inches (33-91.4 cm) and have an average size of 24 inches (60.9 cm). Females are usually larger than males, while males have longer tails than females.
How fast can a queen snake move?
As of now, there is no proper data on the speed at which these snake species move.
How much does a queen snake weigh?
No proper records can be found of how much an adult weighs, however it is recorded that at birth, newborns weigh around 0.1 oz (2.8 g).
What are their male and female names of the species?
No specific name has been assigned to either gender.
What would you call a baby queen snake?
Babies are often referred to as 'juveniles' or 'snakelets'. Females give birth to live young snakelets and after being born, these snakelets are able to swim. And since the mothers aren't the best at caring for them after birth, snakelets have to fend for themselves and must avoid predators and other dangers by themselves.
What do they eat?
Crayfish make up about 90% of the queen snake's diet. They mostly prefer to eat newly molted crayfish and avoid the hard-shelled ones.
Apart from crayfish, they also eat other animals like frogs, snails, tadpoles, newts, and shrimps.
They swim around and look for prey under rocks or debris.
Are they aggressive?
Queen snakes, unlike most snake species, are docile in nature and are not prone to biting, unless they are harassed or threatened. If you leave them alone, they are not harmful to you and will mind their own business most of the time. Their bite, however, is not dangerous to humans as they are nonlethal.
Would they make a good pet?
A queen snake will make a great pet as they are low maintenance snake species and if provided with a nice home with favorable living conditions, will thrive.
Did you know...
The name 'queen Snake' is derived from their Genus name 'Regina' which in Latin is 'Regius' meaning 'queen' in English.
In the Northeast regions of America, the queen snake's status is listed as endangered by the government. Habitat loss (like canalization of streams), erosion, and pollution are some of the factors that are causing the lowering of their population. In an effort to keep them protected, fencing is provided along streams on pastured lands.
They are also known as pale snake, the queen water snake, willow snake, leather snake, and striped water snake, and eastern queen snake!
Queen snakes have a narrow head with nine plate-like scales, these scales are keeled and are on the top of the head. This provides their head with protection when they chase their prey under rocks.
They play an important role in the ecosystem as they prey on crayfish and keep their population in check, alongside being food to other larger animals like raccoons and hawks.
Queen snakes are often mistaken as garter snakes as they are both similar to each other in appearance.
Can queen snakes swim?
This snake species are excellent swimmers as they are semi-aquatic in nature and spend most of their time in water bodies look for prey such as crayfish and tadpoles.
What do queen snakes do when they feel threatened?
Herons and raccoons are some of the natural predators of queen snakes apart from other larger snake species, predatory fish, hawks, otters, minks, and humans. Queen snakes seldom bite their predators when they become the prey, but in extreme cases, they will release a foul stench and smear their predators with feces when they are grabbed.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles including the copperhead snake and the worm snake.
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