So I am at my sisters house right now with one of my brother-in-laws snakes(Ball python) around my neck. I've always wondered how you could tell the difference between male and females. Well now I know.
The male snake at the tail goes from thick to thin without the gradual affect while the female is a nice smooth thinning.
Now there is much controversy to snakes. My mother has owned two ball pythons and my brother-in-law has 3 pythons and a rat snake in the house. There has never been any incidents with them harming anyone(even if the rat snake is aggressive by nature.)
The ball pythons if not careful, and they get around your neck, will constrict slightly. But it is in their nature and not their fault especially if they are seeking warmth. There is no need to hide your children from them. Let alone it is a great experience for the children to see and learn from watching how a snake lives and sometimes even eats its food.
All in all ball pythons are gently and elegant creatures