According to Vida Preciosa International, ball pythons are fed once a week. A typical meal is one mouse, although large or mature snakes sometimes consume two to three mice or even a small rat. During the winter, it's not unusual for adult pythons to stop eating until early spring.
VPI indicates that very young snakes typically prefer live baby mice. Juvenile and adult pythons are satisfied with food that has been thawed or recently killed. This is fortunate, because a hungry live adult mouse may attack or even kill a snake. VPI also states that snakes should have fresh water constantly available.