Snake Puffs

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Too much meat isn’t good for the planet or for human health, researchers say, so the hunt is on for alternatives.

Ostriches, alligators and insects have been sneaking their way onto menus.

Now, a recent study has proposed that snake meat could be a sustainable replacement for beef and poultry, Science Alert reported.

An international team of researchers looked into the feasibility of farming pythons on a commercial scale and the environmental impact such a practice would have.

Their research focused on two python species – Malayopython reticulatus and Python bivittatus – reared in farms in Thailand and Vietnam for a year before being humanely killed.

Their findings were promising: Unlike normal livestock, pythons grew rapidly and yielded a good amount of meat even during periods of fasting.

The team explained that the ratio of food consumed versus the meat produced was 1.2 in pythons, while in salmon and poultry the ratios were 1.5 and 2.8, respectively. Beef was 10.0.

A lower ratio number means greater efficiency, which suggests that “it is biologically and economically feasible to breed and raise pythons in captive production facilities for commercial trade,” they wrote.

They added that because snakes can fast for months without losing much body mass, this means that they consume fewer resources such as food and water.

Still, the study found that feeding snakes can be labor intensive and it’s unclear how this practice would work on an industrial scale.

And then there’s the question of taste and preference – although the researchers suggested that the reptile meat tastes like chicken and it’s low in fat, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation added.

“Coupled with the general fear humans have toward snakes, it may be some time before the agricultural potential of pythons is realized at the global scale,” the authors noted.

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