Rene Price pretty well ruined my save-the-Everglades-from-scary-slithering-exotic-species project, with a rather acute observation. Pollution has likely turned our local pythons into living thermometers. Rene noted:
I enjoyed your article today on the very creative way of diminishing the explosion of exotic snakes in the Everglades. However, there is a fatal flaw in your suggestion of having chefs produce an enticing snake dish.
Mercury levels are high in all species in the Everglades. The Florida Department of Health recommends that some fish species from the Everglades be eaten only once a month. And that some species such as Bass and Snook not be eaten at all by young women and children.
Mercury levels bio-accumulate up the food chain, so snakes which are close to the top of the food chain are expected to have high levels of mercury, although I haven't heard of anyone determining their mercury content yet.
Your suggestion, however, may entice some scientists to determine the mercury content of those snakes.
Thanks Rene. And so much for my great idea. I suppose, given the risk of turning Burmese pythons into haute cuisine, we should save them to feed only to tourists.