Squamata suborder Serpentes
Regina grahamii -- Graham's Crayfish Snake
All information found on this site falls under the INHS's Internet License Agreement.
Purple shade indicates vouchered specimens. Light blue (cyan)
shade indicates photographic records. Yellow shade indicates verified
sighting. Slanted hatch indicates pre-1980 records only
NOTE: Not all specimens upon which these maps are based have been verified.
Key Characters: Yellow stripe on scale rows 1-3; back scales strongly keeled; anal plate divided.
Similar Species: Queen snake.
Description: Medium-sized (up to 100 cm TL), relatively stout-bodied brown or dark olive water snake. Side stripe bordered below by a narrow, irregular black stripe along the outer edges of belly scales. Sometimes a midback light stripe is present. Belly plain yellow or off-white, the hind third with a faint dark line or row of dots down the center. Stripes and belly more yellow and midback light stripe more frequent in juveniles.
Habitat: The still-water, prairie equivalent of the queen snake, it lives in and along banks of soft-bottomed, heavily vegetated lakes, ponds, sluggish streams, sloughs, and roadside ditches.
Natural History: Secretive and difficult to catch, it basks on rock piles and overhanging branches. Hibernates in crayfish burrows and burrows it excavates. Mates in late April or May and gives birth to 10-20 young in late July, August, or September. Newborn 15-25 cm TL. Frequent prey are recently molted crayfish, but fish and frogs also are eaten. Predators include other snakes, large shore birds, and mammals.
Status: Widespread but uncommon. Absent from the Wabash and Ohio river counties.