Discover Maryland's Herps

Field Guide to Maryland's Snakes (Order Squamata)

Sub-order Serpentes, Family Colubridae

Queen Snake
Regina septemvittata

Queen Snake, Photo by John White
Photo of Queen Snake courtesy of John White


13 inches – 23 inches Record: 36 inches


This elegant snake is brown or dark green above with a yellow stripe on the lower half running the length of the body.
The belly is yellow to whitish with four dark stripes running lengthwise.
The scales are keeled and the anal plate, that scale on the belly just forward of the vent, is divided.
Three additional dark stripes run down the back, but are difficult to see except in specimens that have recently shed or in juveniles.

Queen Snake Detail, Photo by Martin Hurd
Photo of Queen Snake Detail courtesy of Martin Hurd


Found in or near clear water, bogs and other freshwater shallow wetlands, small spring-fed streams, ponds or lakes. There will be crayfish.

How to Find

These snakes are uncommon. Look for crayfish chimneys around seeps and shallow wetlands. This is the primary food of queen snakes. Non-venomous.

Queen Snake Habitat, Photo by Jay Kilian
Photo of Habitat for Queen Snake courtesy of Jay Kilian

Distribution in Maryland

Most commonly found in the Piedmont and western Maryland, with a few historical sightings reported from the northern Coastal Plain.

Maryland Distribution Map for Queen Snake

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and Reptile Atlas Project

"A Joint Project of the Natural History Society of Maryland, Inc. and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources"

For monthly newsletters of the Maryland Amphibian & Reptile Atlas Project click on Recent Newsletters and scroll down to the MARA Newsletters.

The Maryland Herpetology Field Guide is a cooperative effort of the MD Natural Heritage Program and the MD Biological Stream Survey within the Department of Natural Resources and their partners. We wish to thank all who contributed field records, text, and photographs, as well as support throughout its development.