Well you should not just go out to your yard and pick up a stick and put it in the cage with you pet.. I have two ball pythons my self, and what I do is go to the beach and find the right piece of drift wood bring it home and boil it for 15 minutes. I have had no problems with either of my snakes doing this. And I was told to do this from a pet store and a vet.. If you do decide to do this just make sure you boil the piece of drift wood for 15 minutes or more, let it dry one a clean sanitised towel or counter, than when its dry and room temperature put it in the cage with your ball python.. Good luck and enjoy your pet...I hope this helped you ok..
I've used sticks and rock from outside I just wash them in a mild bleach water and let them dry completely before putting in cage.the baking probably works a little better but has never been necessary for me.
No it can contain things that can harm the snake like parasites.... There is a safe way to do it but it involves wrapping the stick in foil and placing it in the oven on a low temp for an hour or so....