While attacks on human beings are rare, pythons have killed people. An 8-year-old girl died in 2002 in suburban Pittsburgh after her family's pet python escaped from its cage and wrapped itself around her neck. Also that year, a Colorado man was killed when his 10-foot python coiled around his neck and chest. It took seven firefighters to unwrap the snake.
Although it is rare that a python will attack without provocation, there are several reports of rock python attacks on humans. Often, a human will startle a snake, causing it to bite. More rarely, the python may even constrict a human to death, and smaller humans have been eaten in extremely unusual circumstances.
Python kills careless student zookeeper in Caracas
A 10-foot Burmese Python killed a student zookeeper in Caracas on the weekend and was caught trying to swallow its dead human prey when horrified coworkers arrived, Venezuela's El Universal newspaper reported.
Published: 2:07AM BST 26 Aug 2008
You must provide your python with the appropriate food. Adult snakes will eat about 2 to 4 large mice or 1 to 2 rats per week. It may take some time for your snake to eat the mice. Encourage your python to eat pre-killed mice to avoid injury.
Only feed your python pre-killed mice or rats. Live prey can be dangerous for your snake. Mice and rats have sharp teeth and claws that can actually injure your python.
Read more: How to Take Care of Ball Python Snakes | eHow.com
Ball pythons can be fed exclusively mice or small to medium sized rats (as appropriate for the size of the snake), and only need to be fed every week or two. Young snakes should be fed fuzzy mice every 5-7 days, older snakes should be fed increasingly larger prey and can go a little longer (i.e. 10 - 14 days). Use pre-killed prey as live mice can injure a snake - dangling the prey in front of the snake with forceps usually gets the snake interested.
Moving the snake out of its cage into a separate enclosure for feeding is a good idea and will help in the taming process. The snake will associate eating with the other enclosure, and is less likely to confuse your hand for prey when you put your hand into the cage. This will make it easier to reach into the cage to get the ball python out for handling.
Even captive bred ball pythons sometimes refuse to eat, fasting for a couple of months. As long as body weight and condition are maintained, this is not problematic. If your snake stops eating, carefully examine the husbandry, handling, health, and environment of the snake to make sure stress isn't the culprit. Consult a knowledgeable vet or experienced keeper for help if the fast is prolonged or causing weight loss. If necessary, some tricks to entice a python to eat include dipping the prey in chicken broth, trying different colors of mice, exposing the brain of the prey before feeding it, feeding at night, covering the cage with towels after offering a mouse. You may even want to try feeding a hamster or gerbil, although this may make your snake more likely to refuse mice if it develops a preference for hamsters and gerbils.