Body temperature affects nearly every aspect of the biology of ectotherms. However, many ectotherms do not maintain a uniform body temperature among their different body regions. In the past, most researchers have measured the body temperatures of ectotherms at only one location, either cloacal or core body temperature. Because regional body temperature differences are common in reptiles and other ectotherms, studies of ectotherm thermal biology should consider both the degree of regional variation in preferred body temperature and the precision with which regional temperatures are maintained.
In this study, we examined the extent to which temperature variation occurs in the corn snake (Elaphe guttata) and how precisely the temperature of each body region is regulated. Additionally, we examined the effects of digestion on the regional body temperature variation. A secondary objective of this study was to test the effectiveness of temperature sensitive, passive integrated transponders (pit tags) for use in thermal preference studies of snakes.