The Queen snake or Queensnake (Regina septemvittata) is a non-venomous semi-aquatic snake species, compared to North America. Their range extends throughout the United States, east of the Mississippi River from western New York state east to Wisconsin and south throughout the Carolinas to northern Florida and Alabama.
They are considered to be extirpated from New Jersey, which has been at the edge of its range. The species is located from the southwestern region of Ontario. Additionally, there are other small disjunct populations in south-central Arkansas and Missouri and around Bois Blanc Island in Lake Huron.
Queen snakes are an semi-aquatic species and therefore are often found in or near water, in almost any place with ample crayfish, their favorite prey. Their preferred habitats consist of shallow streams and rivers with sand or rocky bottoms and plenty of places to hide.
But this sort of snakes is also found in several other aquatic habitats like lakes or ponds, ditches, canals, and even in marshes. Because it must be 50 °F during their busy months, the water temperature has an important role in their habitat preferences.
The queen snake is a parasitic species, meaning it is most active during the day, but during hot weather, they may also go around during the night. They could be seen basking in sunlight on logs or rocks along the edge of the water, or even hanging in shrubs or tree limbs above the water, where they will immediately drop if disturbed. They are frequently seen basking alongside northern watersnakes (Nerodia sipedon).
How Big Do queen snakes get?
These colubrid snakes have a slightly slender body and quantify by 13 to 36 inches (34 to 92 cm) in total length with a mean size of 24 inches (61 cm). Females are generally larger than the males, but males have longer tails.
Queen snake dorsal coloration is typically olive oil, brown or perhaps grayish, with a whitish or yellowish band running on either side of the body around the labial scales. Even though their belly is cream or yellowish in colour, with 4 brown stripes running the length of their belly and converging towards the tail.
Sometimes they’ll have 3 more or less feeble darker stripes running down the length of the body, more observable in juvenile and young snakes because these stripes tend to fade away as they are mature.
Their look is quite similar to that of garter snakes (genus Thamnophis), such as the Eastern Garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis) and often confused together. But unlike the garter snakes, the queen snake includes a divided anal plate and lacks the lighter dorsal stripe.
Their scales are keeled with 19 dorsal rows in the mid-body and feel rough to the touchscreen. While their chin is covered with thick scales They’ve a head coated with 9 plate-like climbs. Unlike many venomous snakes the Queen snake has rounded pupils.
At the northern portion of the scope, the queen’s snake will enter brumation during the winter months. They will brumate in groups, sometimes with amphibians, different snakes and even their prey.
Their hibernation dens are almost always close to the water in any acceptable site, like the burrows mammals or crayfish, dams, old bridge abutments, crevices in bedrock or cracks in walls. Brumation is a kind of hibernationthat the snakes become lethargic in this moment.
So much to their principal prey, crayfishes, could even become a predator into them and begin eating young queen snakes during this age. Mature snakes are are preyed on by herons and hawks, raccoons, mink, otters and snakes. Big fish and cows may also eats smaller snakes.
Their lifespan in the wild is unknown, but one man specimen was known to live up to 19 years. Contrary to more competitive snake species, Queen snakes are very docile, and although not likely to biting they’ll bite if harassed and can even smear their attacker with a foul-smelling secretion if caught.
These snakes have been known by a number of other common names like brownish queen snake, olive water snake, rat snake, North American seven-banded snake, pale snake, queen water snake, striped water snake, seven-striped water snake, three-striped water snake, yellow-bellied snake along with willow snake.
Bull snakes can also be known as banded water snake or even diamondback water snake but they aren’t related to the”actual” banded water snake (Nerodia fasciata) or the diamondback water snake (Nerodia rhombifer).
What does the queen snake eat?
Even the Queen snake feeds primarily on freshwater crayfish, research suggest that crayfish constitute over 90% of the diet. But unlike their relatives, the crayfish snakes, they like to consume freshly molted crayfish, avoiding the crayfish.
Doing so these snakes prevent eating the hard exoskeleton and the crayfish can also be mostly defenseless and unable to attack and hurt them with their pincers. Queen snakes will take food sources like fish, tadpoles, minnows, newts, frogs, snails, and shrimps.
The Queen snake knowingly searches for prey by swimming and searching under rocks or other underwater debris. Rather than even or sight heat discovery such as this of pit vipers, these snakes use their awareness of chemosensation to locate prey.
They utilize their own forked tongue to carry the prey’s scent to receptors located inside the snake’s mouth that this allows them to detect its preyunder water.
The queen snakes is a solitary animal, only coming together throughout the breeding period usually occurs from the spring, typically during May. But mating can take place until spring, females may postpone the birth in this situation, storing energy during summer months during brumation.
Ladies will spend quite a lot of energy to provide the eggs together with the nutrients they want through the 90 to 120 days following period. Males find by using their tongues to feel chemical cues left by females, females find prey.
When they locate a female prepared to mate the copulation takes place. Contrary to oviparous snakes that lay eggs or viviparous snakes that provide birth to live young, queen spider females carry eggs within their bodies and then give birth to live young.
Girls give birth to 5 to 31 infant snakes however on average approximately 10 to 12 young snakes are generally from August to September. The snakes therefore are capable of moving around and to swim and must fend for themselves only, since no parental attention is provided by females.
At birth, the newborn snakes are roughly 6 inches (15 cm) long and weigh approximately 0.1 ounces (2.8 gram ), but they will grow very fast and may shed their skin twice through the first week of their lives. During this period they’ll live on the nutrient yolk shops they maintain.
Throughout their first period of life, their span increases by as much as 50% to 80%, and the growth rate drops substantially. When they’re old, both females and males reach sexual maturity approximately two years of age, but females will breed for the very first time.
The Queen snake is listed as”Least Concern species” by the IUCN and does not have any special status in CITES. Their population is considered stable throughout the majority of their range, presumably exceeding 100,000 people.
They’re found only where crayfish can also be present and abundant, usually in mild or rapid flowing streams so every danger to the crayfish may even influence these snakes.
There are no subspecies currently recognized for its Queen snake by scientists.
Their Genus title, Regina comes from the Latin term”regius” meaning”queen”. Though the species name,”septemvittata” derives from two Latin words, septem meaning”seven” and vitta which means”stripe”.
That is a reference to the number of light and dark stripes found on several people of this species. Young snakes have a total of visible stripes, 3 on the trunk and 4 in their belly, which are inclined to fade as they grow.
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