Regina grahamii
Baird & Girard 1853

rĕ-gī-nă — grăm-ī

An adult Graham's Crayfish Snake from Barton County. © Maci Loughrea.
An adult Graham's Crayfish Snake from Greenwood County. © Jenny Smith.
 An adult Graham's Crayfish Snake from Cowley County. Image by Paxon Hutto.
Image © Suzanne L. Collins, CNAH.

Harmless. Scales keeled. Body is dark brown or slate gray, with cream-colored or yellow stripes along the sides of the body just above the belly. The belly is cream or yellow with two dark stripes. In older females, the belly may be dark. Young look like miniature adults. Relatively stout-bodied brown or dark olive water snake. Side stripe bordered below by a narrow, irregular black stripe along the outer edges of belly scales. Sometimes a midback light stripe is present. Belly plain yellow or off-white, the hind third with a faint dark line or row of dots down the center. Stripes and belly more yellow and midback light stripe more frequent in juveniles.
Adults normally grow 457- 710 mm (18-28 inches) in TL; largest specimen from Kansas: female (KU 188175) from Lyon County with TL of 1,029 mm (40 5/8 inches) collected by Robert F. Clarke on 11 June 1960; maximum length throughout range: 47 inches (Conant and Collins, 1998).

The still-water, prairie equivalent of the queen snake, it lives in and along banks of soft-bottomed, heavily vegetated lakes, ponds, sluggish streams, sloughs, and roadside ditches. Generally found along riparian areas in the eastern half of the state.
Few records exist for northeastern Kansas (one each from Brown and Doniphan counties) but they are substantiated by records from southeastern Nebraska and northwestern Missouri.

(, Museum Voucher) (, Observation) (, Literature Record)
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  • Occurrence Summary:  
  • 243 Total Records 
  • 218 Museum Vouchers 
  • 25 Other Observations 
Some county occurrences indicated below may be too imprecise to map above.
County Breakdown: County Name (# occurrences):
Allen (1); Anderson (6); Atchison (1); Barber (1); Barton (20); Bourbon (5); Brown (1); Butler (2); Chase (1); Chautauqua (3); Cherokee (4); Coffey (2); Cowley (3); Crawford (1); Dickinson (1); Douglas (45); Franklin (14); Geary (2); Greenwood (5); Harvey (4); Jewell (1); Johnson (1); Labette (4); Linn (4); Lyon (8); Marshall (1); McPherson (2); Miami (9); Montgomery (2); Neosho (7); Osage (9); Pratt (4); Reno (2); Rice (2); Riley (3); Russell (1); Saline (3); Sedgwick (3); Shawnee (25); Stafford (4); Sumner (2); Wabaunsee (2); Wilson (2); Woodson (20);

Natural History:
Occurs along the margins of mud-bottom marshes, oxbow lakes, rivers, and streams; particularly likes roadside ditches abundant with crayfish. Active from late April to October, this snake breeds in the spring and an average litter of 16 young are born July–September. Feeds almost exclusively on crayfish.
Mates in late April or May and gives birth to 10-20 young in late July, August, or September. Newborn 15-25 cm TL.

Occurrence Activity:
White dates indicate there is at least a single recorded occurrence on that date. The darker blue a date is, the greater the relative number of observations for that date.
The given locality of Harper County specimen (KU 186009) is actually in Barber County.
Additional surveys along the eastern sections of the Smoky Hill, Saline, Soloman, and Republican rivers may yield specimens.

1877 Mozley, Annie E List of Kansas snakes in the museum of the Kansas State Univeristy Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 6():34-35
1885 Cragin, Francis W. Recent additions to the list of Kansas reptiles and batrachians, with further notes on species previously reported. Bulletin of the Washburn College Laboratory of Natural History 1(3):100-103
1885 Cragin, Francis W. Second contribution to the herpetology of Kansas, with observations on the Kansas fauna. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 9():136-140
1904 Branson, Edwin B. Snakes of Kansas. University of Kansas Science Bulletin 2(13):353-430
1928 Burt, Charles E. Some distributional and ecological records of Kansas reptiles. Transactions of the Academy of Science St. Louis 26():186-208
1929 Dolman, Katherine. Studies of Kansas Water Snakes. Thesis. University of Kansas, Lawrence. 69pp.
1929 Taylor, Edward H. A revised checklist of the snakes of Kansas. University of Kansas Science Bulletin 19(5):53-62
1932 Gloyd, Howard K. The herpetological fauna of the Pigeon Lake Region, Miami County, Kansas. Papers of the Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan 15():389-408
1934 Burt, Charles E. and W. L. Hoyle. Additional records of the reptiles of the central prairie region of the United States. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 37():193-216
1935 Burt, Charles E. and William L. Hoyle. Additional records of the reptiles of the central prairie region of the United States Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 37():193-216
1937 Grant, Chapman. Herpetological notes from Central Kansas. American Midland Naturalist 18(3):370-372
1953 Schmidt, Karl P. A Check List of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. 6th Edition. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois. 280pp.
1956 Loomis, Richard B. The chigger mites of Kansas (Acarina, Trombiculidae). University of Kansas Science Bulletin 37():1195-1443
1976 Caldwell, Janalee P. and Gregory. Glass. Vertebrates of the Woodson County State Fishing Lake and Game Management Area. Pages 62-76 in Preliminary inventory of the biota of Woodson County State Fishing Lake and Game Management Area. Report No. 5. State Biological Survey of Kansas, Lawrence. pp.
1980 Clarke, Robert F. Herptiles and fishes of the western Arkansas River in Kansas. United States Army Corps of Engineers, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 55pp.
1986 Cleveland, E. D. County record for Graham's Crayfish Snake (Regina grahamii). Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 89():9
1989 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1988. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (75):15-18
2000 Taggart, Travis W. KHS spring field trip sets record for attendance. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (120):5-5
2001 Taggart, Travis W. The KHS 2001 spring field trip: A rainy rendezvous. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (124):12-14
2002 Ernst, Carl H., J. Whitfield Gibbons and Michael E. Dorcas. Regina. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (756):1-4
2002 Riedle, J. Daren and A. Hynek. Amphibian and reptile inventory of the Kansas Army Ammunition Plant, Labette County, Kansas. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (2):18-20
2006 Taggart, Travis W. Distribution and status of Kansas herpetofauna in need of information. State Wildlife Grant T7. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Pratt. vii + 106pp.
2008 Taggart, Travis W. KHS 2008 spring field trip. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (25):2-3
2012 Rohweder, Megan R. Spatial conservation prioritization of Kansas for terrestrial vertebrates. Thesis. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. 151pp.
Account Last Updated:
11/10/2019 2:07:39 PM

Travis W. Taggart © 2020 — Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Fort Hays State University