Other common names
Most adult queensnakes are about 15-24 inches (38-61 cm) in total length. These slender snakes are brownish to olive-green with a yellowish or cream-colored stripe on the lower side of a body. The lip scales are cream-colored and contrast sharply with the rest of the brown head. The scales on the body are dull and strongly keeled (each scale has a prominent raised ridge). Juvenile coloration is similar to that of adults.
Range in Florida
Queensnakes occur in the Panhandle from the Ochlockonee River basin west.
Assessment of risk to people and pets
Non-venomous. Queensnakes are not dangerous to people or pets.
Comparison with other species
Striped swampsnake (Liodytes alleni) Striped swampsnakes have an unpatterned belly and smooth scales on the body.
Black swampsnake (Liodytes pygaea) Black swampsnakes are glossy black with bright red bellies.
Glossy swampsnake (Liodytes rigida) Glossy swampsnakes are glossy brown to olive brown, with a faint dark stripe down the back and down each side. They are relatively thick-bodied.
Most adult queensnakes are about 15-24 inches (38-61 cm) in total length, with a record length recorded of 36.3 inches (92.2 cm). These slender snakes are brownish to olive-green with a yellowish or cream-colored stripe on the lower side of a body. The lip scales are cream-colored and contrast sharply with the rest of the brown head. The belly is yellow or cream-colored with two rows of dark spots that converge to form a single stripe beneath the chin and tail. Some individuals may have a predominantly dark belly, and older individuals lose their distinctive striped pattern with age. The scales on the body are dull and strongly keeled (each scale has a prominent raised ridge), and there are 19 scale rows at midbody. The pupil is round. Juvenile coloration is similar to that of adults but may exhibit three additional stripes along the length of the back.
Queensnakes are semi-aquatic and inhabit cypress strands, rivers, streams, creeks, and marshes. They are especially fond of clear, cool, fast-moving streams, where they frequently bask in vegetation overhanging water. These snakes are rarely encountered away from water, but they can sometimes be found under logs or debris near the water.
These snakes typically do not bite in defense. If approached or cornered, queensnakes will usually attempt to escape by dropping into the water and diving down to the bottom. Captured snakes often squirm and release foul-smelling musk from two glands in the base of the tail.
Queensnakes are diurnal (active during the day) and feed almost exclusively on freshly-molted crayfish. However, they will occasionally feed on small fishes, small frogs, and various aquatic invertebrates.
In Florida, females typically give live birth to 4-39 young between June and October.
County data coming soon.
If you have a new or interesting observation for this species, please email the herpetology staff at the Florida Museum.
Ernst, C.H. and E.M. Ernst. 2003. Snakes of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. 668 pp.
Krysko, K.L., K.M. Enge, and P.E. Moler. 2019. Amphibians and Reptiles of Florida. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, Florida. 706 pp.
Powell, R., R. Conant, and J.T. Collins. 2016. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. Fourth edition. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, Boston and New York. xiv + 494 pp.
Share your observations
You can help scientists better understand the biology and distribution of this species by sharing your observations. Send photos or videos of interesting observations, along with associated information, by emailing the herpetology staff at the Florida Museum for documentation in the Museum’s Herpetology Master Database. You can also post your observations on iNaturalist.
Additional helpful information
Do you have snakes around your house? Learn how to safely co-exist with snakes.
Still have questions about snakes or identifications? Feel free to email the herpetology staff at the Florida Museum with your questions or feedback on this profile.