Eastern Ratsnake Conservation - Least Concern
Scientific Name
Pantherophis guttatus
Everywhere Except Eastern Virginia
Also Called
Queensnake, Striped Water Snake
Olive to Gray to Dark Brown Body With a Yellowish Stripe Along the Side
Litter Size
5 - 13 Eggs per Birth
Life Span
Unknown (19 Years in Captivity)
15 - 24 Inches

Quick Links for Queen Snake


Queen Snake Description

Queen Snake Appearance

This snake can have a olive to gray to dark brown body. With a yellowish or peach belly with 2 or 4 dark stripes. These stripes are unique to these snakes which makes identification of this snake simple and easy.
Juveniles will have extra stripes which will fade as they mature.


This snake is normally between 15 to 24 inches long, however, the record length for this snake is about 36.3 inches. The record found in Virginia is 28.1 inches.

Juveniles tend to be 10 to 12 inches long.

Queensnake in Hand

Another way to look at this snake is that it has a white belly with 4 dark stripes

Queen Snake Behavior

These snakes are normally active in the daylight, but sometimes they are seen hunting at night. They are semi aquatic, and will leave the water to bask in the sun or to hunt if they spot prey out of the water.

They do not hunt by sight but by smell, they use their tongues to search for prey. Due to this, they are able to smell even underwater.

These snakes rarely bite, but some will nip if they are roughly handled. If they spot danger they will retreat into the water.

It is illegal in Virginia to keep Wild Snakes as pets

Range and Habitat of The Queensnake


These snakes tend to avoid the coasts of Virginia, or rather the coasts entirely. They can be found everywhere near the water in the south except for the coasts. However, there is a population of them near the coasts of Alabama and Mississippi. They can be found as far north as Ontario and New York


Their habitat consists of rivers, streams, swamps, marshes, and lakes. As well as land near these areas, especially the rocky areas near them.

Queensnake Map Range

Central Virginia has a pocket of these snakes as there are none north of DC and Baltimore and the Virginia and North Carolina border.


Their main diet are crayfish, especially those that are molting where their shells are softer. However, they can take other prey, if they cannot find other crayfish.

Reproduction and Young


Mating for these snakes occur in the spring and fall, where the female will lay eggs in Spring or Summer.

Eggs and Young

There will generally be a clutch of 5 to 13 eggs.
Juveniles will be a lighter almost gray color when born, which will get darker as they mature. They will also have more stripes on their belly which will fade away. They are typically 7 to 9 inches long when born.

Juveniles are a noticeably lighter color when compared to adults.

Resized and reformatted for web use ©keneyeam

Snake Problems?

Call Us for a Free Inspection
Schedule Appointment