Officials in Florida are encouraging residents to eat wild pythons to help contain the population of the snakes.
For years, Florida has struggled with its population of Burmese pythons, which are considered an invasive species in the state.
Now, officials are trying to rein them in after finding that they are disrupting the food chain in environmentally-fragile areas such as the Everglades.
‘We would like to use consumption as another way to encourage people to remove pythons in Florida if the meat is safe to eat,’ Carli Segelson, a spokesperson for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, wrote in an email to Tampa Bay Times.
He said the commission is currently carrying out a study to see if the pythons are safe to eat, as they are known to contain high levels of mercury, which is toxic to humans.
One python hunter for the South Florida Water Management District, Donna Kalil, told Tampa Bay Times that she eats python ‘several times a week’.
As for the taste, she said the texture of the meat is like fish but it tastes most like pork.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration, the safe limit for mercury consumption in a human is 0.3 per million. However, some of the pythons in Florida have registered as more than 100 times that.
‘The pythons were hundreds of parts per million. We have one of the worst mercury problems in the world in the Everglades and South Florida,’ Darren Rumbold, Florida Gulf Coast University professor, told the publication.
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Topics: Animals, Florida, Now, snake
CreditsTampa Bay Times
Tampa Bay Times