Please see Part I of this article to read about theories that may explain this species’ (annoying!) habit of fasting for long periods.
If your snake goes on a “hunger strike”, try leaving a (dead) mouse or small rat in the terrarium overnight, hiding it within a cave (“finding” the food seems to stimulate some snakes) or moving it about with a long-handled tongs.
Other techniques include “Scenting” – rubbing a mouse with a favored food item retained for that purpose – and offering rat pups. Some folks advise cutting into a (dead!) prey item’s cranium, in order to stimulate the snake with additional scent, but I have not found this to be necessary where Ball Pythons are concerned.
Live food should be avoided, as the snake will be injured in time…this is almost inevitable with any food other than live pinkies or rat pups.
Also, strange as this might sound, live food presented within the confines of a cage can be intimidating – I’ve even observed a 16-foot-long captive Green Anaconda coil up in an attempt avoid a live duck! This stresses the snake and keeps it from feeding for an even longer period.
Novel Food Items
Gerbils are great favorites, as are Zebra Mice (which are the Ball Python’s natural prey in some habitats). However, if the snake does eat such animals, it may then refuse all others. It is, therefore, best to stay with easily-obtained food animals… I once cared for a Green Anaconda that only took Muskrats, and another that would consume wild-caught but not lab-raised Norway Rats – a real pain (and very disheartening, as Muskrats are among my favorite native rodents – I’ve even raised a few, but that’s a story for another time!).
An interesting article on wild Ball Pythons, along with video clips, is posted Here.