Field Guide to Maryland's Snakes (Order Squamata)
Sub-order Serpentes, Family Colubridae
Photo of Queen Snake courtesy of John White
13 ½ 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.
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.
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.
- Discover Maryland's Herps
- Maryland Herp History
- Maryland Herp Checklist
- Survey Techniques, Collecting Ethics, Safety and the Law
- Problems with Buying Frogs and Tadpoles for Wild Release
- Technical Guide: A Key to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Maryland - 86.3 MB pdf file
- Maryland Amphibian and Reptile Atlas (MARA) Project
- Natural Heritage Program
- Wildlife & Heritage Home
"A Joint Project of the Natural History Society of Maryland, Inc. and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources"
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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.