BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – Invasive Burmese pythons could be the next white meat.
Just ask Donna Kalil, an experienced python hunter who has made jerky, stews, and even cookies using the meat and eggs from the reptiles.
“It’s good white meat. But you definitely have to prepare it properly,” Kalil told Local 10′s Janine Stanwood over a video call Tuesday afternoon.
The slithery, invasive reptiles are damaging Florida’s native ecosystem. But if a current study conducted by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Department of Health shows their mercury levels are safe, they could be another source of protein on your plate.
An FWC spokesperson said one of the objectives of the study is to investigate the range and distribution of Total Mercury (THg) concentrations in Burmese Pythons across Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Collier, Palm Beach, Hendry, and Lee counties.
“We are pursuing this project because we know there is an interest in consuming python meat,” said spokesperson Carli Segelson. “We are conducting these tests so the public can make safe and informed decisions.”
Kalil said she is testing the mercury levels on her own and has eaten about a dozen pythons that she has caught.
“The reason I am doing this is that this is the first animal I’ve had to kill without eating it. I come from a family of hunters,” she said.
The ability to use pythons for food could be another way to encourage people to hunt them. Any python removed from the Everglades and killing native wildlife, Kalil said, is a win for the environment.