Skip to main content

Graham's Crayfish Snake

Graham’s Crayfish Snake.  Photo by Douglas Mills/
Douglas Mills/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0



Locally common, secretive, and a pillager of burrows, the Graham’s crayfish snake is an unusual watersnake. Rarely longer than 2 feet, the Graham’s crayfish snake ranges in color from brown to gray. The underside is cream-colored. The back and belly are separated by three rows of scales a few shades lighter than the back.


18-28 inches.


Graham’s crayfish snakes can be found throughout Central Oklahoma and in the Red River drainage. They are semi-aquatic, living in lakes, ponds and slow-moving waters with abundant crayfish populations .They can also be found in urban areas.

Life History

Instead of focusing on fish and frogs like other watersnakes, this nonvenomous snake specializes on molting crayfish. They are active foragers; prodding and poking burrows in search of soft-bodied crayfish. They seize and subdue these crustaceans without constriction. Though crayfish are the main source of food for this snake, they will also feed on frogs and tadpoles. Crawfish snakes are active from April through November.

Explore more Oklahoma Reptiles

Milk Snake.  Photo by Kyle Hutchison/RPS 2021
Photo by: Kyle Hutchison/RPS 2021
Spinny Softshell.  Photo by Jeff Tibbits
ODWC Photo
Northern diamond-backed watersnake.  Photo by Natalie McNear/
Photo by: Natalie McNear/Flickr

Want the 58 amphibian and 94 reptile species and subspecies that can be found within the state's boundaries in book format?  Head to the Outdoor Store to purchase "A Field Guide to Oklahoma's Amphibians and Reptiles".  Each account shares detailed photos of the animal along with a physical description, information about the food and habitat preferences, and notes on the life cycle and habits of the species. Revenue supports the Wildlife Department's Wildlife Diversity Fund.
For information on taking or attempting to take reptiles and amphibians or possessing reptiles or amphibians consult the current regulations.