glossy crayfish snake (Regina rigida rigida)


This small- to medium-sized, shiny, dark water snake has large eyes and a fairly blunt nose. It grows to lengths of 14-24 in. (36-61 cm). This snake is brown to olive-brown above, sometimes with two faint parallel stripes. The upper lip is yellow. Scales are very shiny, making this the shiniest of the water snakes. The belly is yellow to yellowish-brown with two rows of distinct black spots or half-moons which converge in the neck region to form a single mid-ventral dark stripe. Juveniles are similar to the adults, except the belly is pink. These snakes bear live young. Mating occurs in late April to early May and young are born in July through September. They are nocturnal and very secretive. Little is known about the biology of this species.


The only confirmed location in Virginia is in New Kent county. This species is found in and around the edges of swamps, marshes, ponds, lakes, and other still waters were there is aquatic vegetation. It usually inhabits the mud and muck in the bottom of these bodies of water.


This species feeds almost entirely on crayfish, but also eats aquatic insect larvae, leopard frogs, cricket frogs, narrowmouthed toads, sirens, and fish.