Snake meat is no more poisonous than any other meat. Proper cooking and handling is required to kill possible germs and toxins in snake meat, just like with every other meat. Even their venom could be eaten harmlessly in some situations, so long as it doesn’t get into the bloodstream.
It’s the venom stored in a snake’s head that you need to be really careful of. There are risks involved if the snake venom gets into your bloodstream. This will occur in the presence of a cut or open wound in your mouth or stomach.
So, the venom should be discarded. Not all snakes have venom, but those who do, store it in their head. That’s why a snake’s head is often cut off and discarded when preparing snake for consumption.
Venom vs Poison: Venom is the toxin that a snake stores in its head and injects into the blood through its fangs. Poison is the toxins that would be found within meat when eaten. Snake meat is no more poisonous than any other meat. Common meat toxins include Salmonella and Campylobacter.
Can you eat Poisonous Snakes?
People can usually eat any properly prepared snake without harming themselves, but there are a few things to consider:
- Legality – First, depending on where you are in the world, it may be illegal to hunt and eat wild snakes. So, you can’t just go out and hunt a snake and eat it. Check your local regulations about this first!
- Snake Bites – Second, hunting a snake may be lethal. When threatened, a snake is likely to fight back and bite, which mat harm you.
- Getting Venom in your Bloodstream – Third, in case of an open wound in your mouth, throat, or stomach, remnants of the snake’s venom may make their way into your bloodstream.
- Discarding the Venom – Fourth, It is best to avoid eating snakes’ heads since that is where the toxin is stored. Usually, people discard the snake head to ensure the venom is nowhere near the prepared meat.
- Protecting Endangered Species – Fifth, People should also be aware of not hunting and eating endangered species, such as the eastern indigo snake. Hunting endangered species can put those snakes closer to extinction.
What Snakes are Edible?
Below is a list of the most popular edible snakes that people have hunted and ate (you may not be allowed to hunt and eat them in your state, though!):
- The Coral Snake
- Rattle Snake
- The Copper head
- The Cottonmouth
Are there Benefits of Eating Snakes?
Snake meat is said to have numerous benefits, although most of these are usually old wives tales and untrue. This is usually information passed down from times before the rise of western medicinal science.
The most common snake meat that is said to have benefits is cobra meat. But, cobra is also very dangerous, so not worth hunting.
Nevertheless, there are supposedly multiple benefits of cobra meat:
- Treating Impotence: According to many people who take snake meat, the meat is very efficient in increasing sexual desire and is highly successful in treating impotence.
- Enhancing and Strengthening Arousal: Supposedly, snake meat is an aphrodisiac. It increases and intensifies sexual arousal in males. Furthermore, some people say the body becomes more fit and has more stamina. So, some men consume snake flesh to boost their grit so that they can last longer in bed!
- Used as Antitoxins: In traditional ‘bush medicine’, snake flesh may be used for antitoxins in addition to treating illnesses. Venom can be very lethal; nevertheless, the snake’s meat may also be used for antitoxin. There’s no actual evidence for this, though.
- Cure Certain Illnesses: Snake meat is also said to be capable of treating certain illnesses. Cobra snake is a perfect example of snakes used to cure diseases. Some people ingest snake meat intending to cure their illness!
Personally, I don’t believe any of the above four points to be true.
What Does Snake Meat Taste Like?
The taste and texture of the snake varies greatly depending on how it is cooked. It is a pink-white meat, so it should taste a lot like other white meats.
Snake flesh has a texture that ranges from dry to moist and firm. The flavor varies by species; some have more pungent gamey or fishy tastes than others.
The taste of snake may be characterized as a mix between chicken and beef, but with harsher, gamier qualities. It’s also known to be chewier than fish.
Because many people dislike the intense flavor of snake, eateries have found it challenging to offer it. Most commonly, you’ll find it in soup broths in Eastern countries.
Snake may also be dry and harsh if not prepared correctly. As a result, many people prefer fried snakes over boiled snakes.
Snake is not often eaten raw, although it may be prepared raw by trained shefs and served as sushi or sashimi if the texture is desired. Consuming raw snakes, on the other hand, is strongly discouraged.
Regions of the world that Eat Snakes
In the United States, snakes are occasionally eaten in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, and the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains.
India, China, and Thailand are areas where snake eating is much more popular than the West. You can find it in soup broths mainly.
The most common place to find snake soup is China. It is served in long stringy strips and mixed with chrysanthemum leaves and spices. People who make snake soup are called “Shea Wang”, which translates to “expert snake chefs”.
There is minimal risk of eating snake venom since the snake’s venom must enter the bloodstream to harm humans. But, to be safe, it’s best not to eat snake unless it has been professionally prepared.
Because snake meat is not often sold commercially in the United States, it lacks precise, rigid health standards that other snake foods have. Proper cooking and handling is required to kill possible germs and toxins in snake meat, just like with every other meat.
Snakes, like other animals, may carry parasites and other contaminants that are transmissible to humans, which may be eliminated by appropriate freezing, handling, and rigorous cooking.
Snake meat is low in calories and fat but rich in protein, and some consider it an emerging star in the culinary industry. However, like with any other meat, it must be cooked and prepared correctly to avoid food poisoning or illness.
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