Florida has a reputation in the United States, with many Americans believing the state to be the nation’s weird uncle.
That’s because The Sunshine State has no shortage of bizarre and wacky stories, whose frequency and strangeness have spawned its very own mascot known as ‘Florida Man.’
But unusual news reports aren’t the only thing to flourish in Florida, as the state’s sub-tropical climate and extreme humidity have made it the perfect breeding ground for a number of cold-blooded pets who are inevitably set loose into the wild, only to terrorize the ecosystem as a surprise apex-predator.
Scientists studying The Everglades are now looking to determine whether or not turning these pests into a balanced breakfast could help to reduce their spread.
The predator might soon become the prey if Florida scientists can confirm that Burmese pythons — an extremely invasive species in the Everglades — are safe for us to eat.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is collaborating with the Florida Department of Health to investigate the mercury levels in pythons to determine if they can be safely consumed. If so, the snakes may soon end up on restaurant menus and dinner tables across the state.
Pythons are nonvenomous constrictors primarily found in south Florida where they have posed a serious risk to native wildlife in the region. The snake is not native to the state, and began appearing in the Everglades in the 1980s when it was likely introduced as an escaped or released pet.
The FWC encourages residents to remove and humanely kill pythons when they can at any time during the year, and to report any sightings to officials.
Those who’ve had the stomach to eat python say that the meat is similar to chicken in its taste, however, it’s far chewier texture.