Social media users reacts to the call to eat python meat as a sustainable meat alternative

Python could be the food of the future. Picture: Pexels/Tyler Mascola

Python could be the food of the future. Picture: Pexels/Tyler Mascola

Published Mar 22, 2024


Move over, lab-grown meat: python could be the food of the future. These reptiles may be one of the most sustainable animals to farm on the planet, according to new research published on March 14, 2024, in the journal Scientific Reports.

And as climate change threatens global food security, python farming could be one possible way to produce a source of protein with a relatively small environmental footprint, the researchers report.

The experts argue that python meat consumption is a greener alternative to traditional meats such as beef, chicken, or fish, due to the low maintenance and rapid growth rates of pythons in farming conditions.

Unlike traditional livestock, which require extensive land and resources, pythons have a minimal impact on natural resources, making them an environmentally friendly option.

Study lead author Daniel Natusch from Sydney’s Macquarie University, who has first-hand experience tasting snake meat, emphasised the potential of reptile farming for sustainable practices.

Natusch highlighted that while it might not be for everyone, incorporating pythons into the agricultural mix could be beneficial for regions facing food security challenges.

Although the idea of python steak may not initially appeal to everyone, the researchers believe that commercial python farming could take off in areas where consuming snakes is not taboo.

Natusch described the meat as “tasty and versatile”, likening its flavour to chicken and noting its adaptability in various dishes.

“I’ve had it barbecued, as satay skewers, and in curries,” he said. “I’ve also eaten it as biltong. At the risk of sounding cliché, it’s a bit like chicken.”

Natusch also argued that by his tally, a billion people in south-east and east Asia, as well as parts of Latin America and Africa, already consider snake meat a culturally acceptable food.

“It is really just Western cultures (which have few naturally occurring large reptiles) that haven’t been exposed to it,” he said.

When the new research was published it quickly went viral and has received mixed reactions on social media.

@ray_rstyles599 wrote: “Some left-wingers are promoting the idea of eating pythons because it would be a most sustainable source of meat. Well, I don’t think I’m gonna have any python anytime soon. We haven't run out of steaks.”

@MeenaArjune wrote: “I have never eaten beef and I rarely eat other regular meat. I rarely cook chicken but buy it for my boys. They love chicken. I can survive by eating little and I don’t need python STEAK. I have no problem watching others eat any kind of steak.”

@LizwelethuGagu wrote: “Even if offered I will never eat python meat. Yona iFish (with fish) at times, I think I’m eating a different species of fish, especially the long ones. Snake meat, never.”