Every year the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission’s (FWC) Python Action Team follows up, tracks and removes invasive Burmese Pythons from across counties in South Florida. Now the FWC along with the South Florida Water Management District is studying the mercury levels in Burmese pythons to determine in part whether the snake’s meat is fit for human consumption.
According to FWC Spokesperson Jamie Clift Rager, any non-native species, including Burmese pythons, can be harvested on private land throughout the year with landowner permission and by legal methods for the local area. To date, more than 12,000 pythons have been found dead or killed in Florida and reported to the FWC.
Sometimes those who catch the snakes use their meat in dishes such as Chili and stir fry or dried for jerky.
The final objective of the study is to collaborate with the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) on developing and sharing consumption advisories for Burmese pythons in South Florida in order to better inform the public, Rager said.
Currently, FWC is studying the mercury level in tissue samples derived from snakes caught by the agency’s contractor program.