In November 2010, I acquired an adult (about 4.5 feet long) day-glo orange corn snake (he's a rescue - found at-large in someone's kitchen in BC, Canada in winter - not a great environment for a warm-climate snake!). I took him to a herp vet, who pronounced him hale, hearty & healthy.
Cornelius (the snake, not the vet...) is very sociable, seems to really enjoy being handled, looks longingly at the Lovebirds when they cruise by, and happily eats the frozen/thawed rats I've been purchasing for him. I go through the various boxes at the pet store to find ones that are the same as his girth or slightly larger, and he takes them with gusto. I don't know if it's necessary, but I always warm the rat to body temperature in warm water (about 20 minutes) before giving it to him. He has never regurgitated a meal since I've had him (if I dangle it, holding it still, he eats it immediately...if I wiggle it, he constricts it for a minute or two, then eats it. So, so far, taking food is not a problem.
My question is this (aimed at those who have adult corn snakes): how often should I feed him? I've read countless care sheets, and they range from recommending feeding every 5-6 days, to once ever 12-14 days. That's a BIG range! I don't want to starve him, but I don't want to overfeed him, either.
So - is there a general rule-of-thumb, or are there some behavioral clues that he needs to feed again, or...? Since I got him, I've been feeding him one (fairly large) rat every two weeks. I note that he still actively searches around his enclosure after dark (like he's hunting), but he even does this almost immediately after a large feed.
He usually defecates 2-5 days later (we have removable reptile substrate mats, so when he defecates, we immediately remove the mat, replace it with a clean one, and clean & sterilize the other one in preparation for next time). He has a large water bowl (he drinks from it, and occasionally bathes in it), a daylight herp lamp for during the day, a basking lamp (infra-red, on all the time to keep him at a good temperature), a coarse rock for shedding duty, and a hide that he seems to enjoy.
He sheds more often than I thought usual - since November he has shed twice, although both sheds seemed to be normal, and mostly intact.
Anyway, I just want to keep him happy and healthy, so...any advice from the pros would be appreciated.