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Sustainable meaty pythonorum cucumber on the plate

Published on 2024-03-17 21.22

According to researchers, python worms are a good source of animal protein.  The photo shows the reticulated python species.  Archive photo.

A new study shows that replacing steak or chicken strips with eel could make dinner kinder to the planet.

They can reach seven meters in length and suffocate their prey with contorting embraces, to which even humans fall victim in rare cases.

But eel could also be one of the most sustainable meat alternatives you can put on your plate, according to a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports.

The researchers studied 4,600 Burmese pythons and reticulated pythons, raised on farms in Thailand and Vietnam, to study their potential as a new type of livestock for commercial breeding.

The results showed that the snakes grew quickly in their first year of life, while needing less food per gram of protein than chicken, beef, pork, salmon – and even cockroaches.

Some snakes can fast for up to 127 days without losing much body weight.

Global food security is at risk as a result of climate change, among other things, and snakes could contribute to a more sustainable and safe food supply, stress researchers working at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, among others. But this applies above all to countries where reptiles already form part of the food culture, they write.

Researchers are now calling for more research into efficient and animal-friendly snake breeding.

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