From predator to prey: Pythons to become a menu item in Florida

Edited By: Bharat Sharma WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Dec 21, 2020, 12:13 PM(IST)

A Burmese python sits in the grass at Everglades Holiday Park in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on April 25, 2019 Photograph:( AFP )

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Florida is set to outdo well… Florida. Turns out, pythons in the state could be available in your favourite restaurants as a main course dish - if things go as expected

Florida is set to outdo well… Florida. Turns out, pythons in the state could be available in your favourite restaurants as a main course dish - if things go as expected.

Florida has a Burmese python problem - which are invasive species in the Everglades. Now, scientists believe that we may be able to eat them, which means they could stop wreaking havoc in the state’s ecosystem.

Also read: Why did Florida just 'eliminate' 5,000 Burmese pythons?

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, in collaboration with the Florida Department of Health is trying to ascertain whether Burmese pythons could be consumed as food, and for this they are measuring mercury levels in pythons.

Very common in southern Florida, pythons are nonvenomous and currently pose a serious risk to the native wildlife in the are. Pythons are not native to Florida, and were introduced as either a released or escaped pet, after which they have taken the native wildlife, altering the ecosystem.

It began appearing in the Everglades in the 1980s. State officials urge people to kill pythons if spotted, or to report sightings to officials.

Also read: Clip of dinosaur-size alligator stealing ducks from hunters in Florida goes viral

Florida currently has a programme called the “Python Elimination Program”, led by South Florida Water Management District, which is also funding the mercury study.

As part of this programme, over 6,000 pythons have been removed from the Everglades.

Scientists hope that if deemed edible, Floridians would start eating pythons to manage their populations in the region.

Mercury is found extensively in the Everglades. And pythons currently remain at the top of the food chain, where they accumulate the most mercury. But scientists just want to be sure it’s safe to consume such pythons.

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