Farmed pythons could provide people with a highly sustainable meat that could help prop up global food security. Are snakes a better protein for the planet?

Β© by GrrlScientist for Forbes |

A young Burmese Python (Python bivittatus) in Homestead, Florida. (Credit: Charles Ommanney)

An international team of researchers conducted a 12-month study at two commercial python farms in Southeast Asia and found that the snakes are remarkably efficient at converting food into weight gain compared to more traditional livestock such as chickens, pigs, and cattle. Further, farmed pythons grow rapidly, even when they are inconsistently fed.

β€œIn terms of food and protein conversion ratios, pythons outperform all mainstream agricultural species studied to date,” the study’s lead author, reptile biologist Daniel Natusch, who is an Honorary Research Fellow with the School of Natural Sciences at Macquarie University, said in a statement.

β€œWe found pythons grew rapidly to reach β€˜slaughter weight’ within their first year after hatching.”

Dr Natusch pointed out that snake meat is white and very high in protein.

In their recently published study, Dr Natusch and collaborators studied and compared a total of 4,600 pythons that were commercially farmed in Thailand and Vietnam, and tested the effects of different feeding…



𝐆𝐫𝐫π₯π’πœπ’πžπ§π­π’π¬π­, scientist & journalist
Gardening, Birding, and Outdoor Adventure

PhD evolutionary ecology/ornithology. Psittacophile. SciComm senior contributor at Forbes, former SciComm at Guardian. Also on Substack at 'Words About Birds'.