Queen snake advice?

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NACairns
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Queen snake advice?

Post by NACairns » August 20th, 2015, 5:18 pm

So a lab mate of mine is moving to Switzerland. We're going out herping before he leaves and the last species of snake he has yet to see in the province is the queen snake. This is not a species I have any experience with but I know of a couple sites where they are supposed to exist and the habitat seems correct (shallow, warm, medium size rivers with rocky bottoms). Any tricks/advice for this species?
Thanks,
Nick

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BillMcGighan
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Re: Queen snake advice?

Post by BillMcGighan » August 20th, 2015, 7:14 pm

Two for my latitude, Nick, used best when its cool and sunny.
Good population of crayfish is a must.

1. Under flat river rocks and logs at the high water level on the shore.
2. In brushy creeks at chest to head level, basking


Image

Image

NACairns
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Re: Queen snake advice?

Post by NACairns » August 20th, 2015, 7:21 pm

Thanks Bill,
I'll do some google map searching for sites where the brush gets near the water. Most of these areas seem to have lots of large flat stones so here's hoping.
Best,
Nick

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jack4rogers
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Re: Queen snake advice?

Post by jack4rogers » August 21st, 2015, 8:10 am

In my experience, they like very quick, rocky rivers with some slower pools in them with pretty brushy sides. I often see them basking above the rivers in branches on cooler days, and on hotter days in the water. Also, look for crawfish in the water! Crawfish are the main prey of Queens in my experience, and no crawfish-no Queens! The soil/sediment is generally pretty sandy, but the soil of the habitat along the river is usually wet, not sandy, soil (if that makes sense). I especially see them in rivers in riparian habitats.
But like I said, crawfish, crawfish, crawfish!!!
Good luck!

NACairns
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Re: Queen snake advice?

Post by NACairns » August 21st, 2015, 11:20 am

Thanks Jack4rogers,
When we get down there I'll have a good check around for crayfish and keep an eye on over hanging veg if there is any. I'll let you guys know how we did.
Best,
Nick

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Bryan Hamilton
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Re: Queen snake advice?

Post by Bryan Hamilton » August 21st, 2015, 4:52 pm

In southern Ohio, queen snakes can be spotty. Absent from seemingly good habitat, then abundant in other areas.

Good luck. I've always enjoyed this species.

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Noah M
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Re: Queen snake advice?

Post by Noah M » August 21st, 2015, 4:59 pm

While visiting family in Indiana last summer I happened upon two of them - it was a river with flat rocks all around. It was mid summer, when temps are supposed to be in the upper 80s, but it was about 10 degrees cooler than normal, and sunny. I flipped a couple of the larger (but not back breaking) rocks near the water's edge and found them with very little effort.

Here are a couple of habitat shots

Image

Image

and one posed on top of a rock.

Image

NACairns
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Re: Queen snake advice?

Post by NACairns » August 24th, 2015, 6:22 am

Thanks all for the advice. Unfortunately we struck out at the site we tried. The habitat appeared to meet the criteria for the species but the number of large to medium rocks were pretty low and the substrate was muddy. That said, there were lots of crayfish and the dense veg (mostly grass/sedge) came right to the water so that might have allowed them to avoid detection. Nice day out but looks like I have a goal for the fall.
ImageQueen snake habitat? by N Cairns, on Flickr
Again thank you for all your help.
Nick

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BillMcGighan
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Re: Queen snake advice?

Post by BillMcGighan » August 24th, 2015, 5:59 pm

Hey, Nick, for what it's worth, if the crayfish have burrows far from the main water, the queens will move far as well, and boards placed over the wet crayfish holes can be very productive next year. I've found them in places 50 meters from the creek that had crayfish burrows.

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