queen snake (Regina septemvittata)
CHARACTERISTICS: This is a small, slender aquatic snake with a
relatively small, narrow head and a yellow stripe along the lower sides
of the body. The body is brown to gray, sometimes with three indistinct
darker lines and the belly is usually off-white but may be brownish and
marked with four dark brown lines. Juveniles are colored and patterned
like the adults. The dark ventral stripes are usually narrow but widen
with age. Mating occurs in spring and fall, and females bear 5-13 live
young in August and September. Unlike most water snakes of Genus
Nerodea, it is not a savage biter but tends to be docile. This snake is
diurnal (active during daylight hours). Populations in the Piedmont are
at risk from siltation and damming of streams.
DISTRIBUTION: Regina septemvittata is found in the Piedmont and
western portions of Virginia. It is frequently found basking on branches
overhanging shallow, rocky streams in agricultural, urban, and forested
areas, often with open patches that allow sunlight to reach the substrate.
Loose rocks, used for shelter, and overhanging vegetation are usually
FOODS: This snake is a predator of crayfish, consuming only those
which have recently shed their exoskeletons.
Crooked Run Valley