Could snakes become the latest hyped 'superfood'?

Could snakes become the latest hyped 'superfood'?
Snakes could be the food of the future
Bang Showbiz - Bang Bizarre / VideoElephant

You've heard about snakes on a plane, but how about snakes on a plate?

That's right, snake meat has become the latest "superfood" on everyone's radar, with scientists suggesting it could provide a sustainable protein alternative to mainstream meat stocked in local supermarkets.

In a report published in Scientific Reports, researchers argue that because pythons reproduce rapidly and have fast growth rates with low food and water requirements, they could very well be an efficient source of meat.

"These animals are extremely good converters of food and particularly protein," study co-author Patrick Aust, a zoologist and research associate at the University of Oxford, told ABC News. "Literally, they are specialists [at] making the most of very little."

Pythons also have the ability to survive extreme events. This was seen during the pandemic which had a "catastrophic impact" on livestock.

"During Covid-19, there were a large number of chickens and pigs that had to be culled because there were minor disruptions in supply chains," Aust said. "Farmers couldn't handle even that disruption."

The study suggests that python farming is already mainstream in parts of Asia, but yet to take off in other regions.

The researchers went on to suggest that the world needs more high quality protein options with a minimised carbon footprint.

"We really are running out resources, whilst at the same time, the demand for high quality nutrients is going up," Aust added.

The co-author did acknowledge that it may take a while for the West to embrace eating snake.

"This isn't going to be a cure-all for our protein needs, but perhaps will play an important role in the future in terms of acceptability palatability in the Western palate," Aust continued.

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