Scientists come up with an interesting suggestion for a future menu: python meat



In the search for the perfect food source, scientists have now come across a new candidate: the python.

Eating a python may not sound like a particularly appealing idea. Yet, according to researchers, there are many advantages to pythons. Scientist Daniel Natusch contributed to the research. He says: “Pythons can convert food into proteins very efficiently. We discovered that pythons can grow very quickly and that they can be ready for slaughter within a year.” Natusch says that python meat is also very healthy. He explains: “Snake meat is white in color and contains a lot of protein. Not only that; it also contains very little fat and it can be produced very sustainably. Snakes need almost no water and food to survive.” The research has been published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Sausages
For the research, the scientists made various sausages from residual proteins and fish remains. The scientists then took these sausages to two different snake farms: one in Thailand and one in Vietnam. At the snake farm in Vietnam, only the Burmese python was grown Python bivittata cultivated. At the Thai snake farm, in addition to the Burmese python, the Reticulated Python was also grown Malayopython reticulatus held. A total of 4601 snakes participated in the experiment. These snakes were then divided into different groups of 14 with seven females and seven males per group. In the end, each group got its own type of sausage to eat.

The scientists noticed that pythons can apparently eat plant proteins. This is despite the fact that pythons in the wild are often carnivores and therefore only eat meat. Natusch explains: “It’s a bit like hiding broccoli in a meatball – something parents often do to get their children to eat vegetables.” In addition, the researchers noticed that the meat used for the sausages does not seem to make a big difference. For example, some groups of snakes were served meat from pigs, while other groups were served meat from vermin. The meat used seemed to have no effect on the health and mental state of the snakes. During the study, it was found that feeding one sausage every five days was more than enough to help the snakes grow. The snakes were weighed after a feeding session to track weight gain.

Snake meat
The results of the study are significant because they show that the meat industry could be much more efficient and friendly by producing more snake meat. Natusch says: “Climate change, disease and the decline of natural resources are all reasons why we should consider keeping less ‘normal’ livestock. Snake meat has long been eaten in parts of Asia, including China. It would be great if the West could also start doing this.”

However, there is one small comment to make: the researchers did not look at the taste of snake meat. Co-researcher and team member Rick Shine concludes: “The research is a good example of how we can convert many types of waste into proteins. However, I don’t think that areas such as Europe or Australia will quickly switch to snake meat: in the countries where this is eaten, they mainly eat it because of the cultural background. I think it will be a long time before we can buy snake meat burgers.”