Baird & Girard, 1853
R. grahamii is a medium-sized snake, measuring an average of 18–28 inches (46–71 cm) in total length (including tail), but can grow up to almost 4 feet long in some cases. The maximum recorded total length is 47 inches (119 cm).
It is usually a brown or gray color with an occasional faint mid-dorsal stripe. Its lateral stripes are typically cream, white tan, or light yellow and located from the belly up to the fourth scale row. The belly is typically the same color as the lateral stripes and is unmarked, with the exception of a row of dark dots down the center (rare in specimens).
There are no subspecies of Graham's crayfish snake, Regina grahamii, which are recognized.
Regina grahamii occurs along the margins of mud-bottom marshes, oxbow lakes, rivers and streams. It particularly likes roadside ditches abundant with crayfish. Graham's crayfish snakes typically hide under rocks, logs, and other debris at the waters edge and also spend much time in crayfish burrows.
Temperament and defense
The primary defense for this species is camouflage and nocturnal behaviors. When alarmed, especially while basking, it will make a quick escape into the water and hide. This species is relatively docile, but it may flatten out and musk if captured.
Adult females bear live young in broods of 10–15. Newborns are about 8 inches (about 20 cm) in total length.
They are difficult to keep; specimens usually refuse all food and develop skin lesions easily. Only experienced snake owners should attempt to raise them.
- Beltz, Ellin. 2006. Scientific and Common Names of the Reptiles and Amphibians of North America — Explained. ebeltz.net/herps/biogappx.html.
- Beolens, Bo, Michael Watkins and Michael Grayson. 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press. Baltimore, Maryland. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Regina grahami, p. 105.)
- Conant, Roger. 1975. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. Second Edition. Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 429 pp. (GRAHAM'S WATER SNAKE Natrix grahami, p. 150, Plate 21, Map 110.)
- Schmidt, K.P., and D.D. Davis. 1941. Field Book of Snakes of the United States and Canada. G.P. Putnam's Sons. New York. 365 pp. (Graham's Water Snake.—Natrix grahamii, pp. 210–211, Figure 67.)
- Wright, A.H., and A.A. Wright. 1957. Handbook of Snakes of the United States and Canada. Two Volumes. Comstock. Ithaca and London. 1,106 pp. (Graham's water snake, Natrix grahami, pp. 490–493, Figure 144, Map 40.)
- Grahm's Crayfish Snake on Reptiles and Amphibians of Iowa
- Baird, S.F., and C.F. Girard. 1853. Catalogue of North American Reptiles in the Museum of the Smithsonian Institution. Part I. – Serpents. Smithsonian Institution. Washington, District of Columbia. xvi + 172 pp. ("Regina Grahamii, B. & G.", new species, pp. 47–48.)
- Behler, John L., and F. Wayne King. 1979. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. Alfred A. Knopf. New York, New York. 743 pp. ISBN 0-394-50824-6. (Regina grahami, pp. 646–647 + Plate 519.)
- Boulenger, G.A. 1893. Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume I., Containing the Families ... Colubridæ Aglyphæ, part. Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers). London. xiii + 448 pp. + Plates I-XXVIII. (Tropidonotus grahami, pp. 240–241.)
- Conant, Roger, and William Bridges. 1939. What Snake Is That?: A Field Guide to the Snakes of the United States East of the Rocky Mountains. (with 108 drawings by Edmond Malnate). D. Appleton-Century Company. New York and London. Frontispiece map + viii + 163 pp. + Plates A-C, 1-32. (Natrix grahamii, p. 94 + Plate 16, figure 46.)
- Smith, H.M., and Edmund D. Brodie, Jr. 1982. Reptiles of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. Golden Press. New York, New York. 240 pp. ISBN 0-307-13666-3. (Regina grahami, pp. 156–157.)
- Stejneger, Leonard, and Thomas Barbour. 1917. A Check List of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. Harvard University Press. Cambridge, Massachusetts. 125 pp. (Natrix grahamii, p. 95.)