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BattaBox heads down to the Nigeria Snake Market! While most people are rightly scared of snakes and their poisonous venom – for Nigerians and African Food – they can make a tasty dish.
“They sell snakes here!” explains Odunayo, our BattaBox presenter. “Nigerians – we sabi chop things o!”
Enormous bags of hundreds of different shapes, lengths and sizes of snakes – and customers (mostly women who own restaurants) all rush to the bags and grab as many as they can as fast as they can – before they are sold out. The Snake market is just outside of Lagos in Badagry.
“They bring the snakes from the Republic of Benin,” says Bati who has been selling it in the Badagry market (near Nigeria’s border with Benin) for many years now. And customers come from across South-West Nigeria like Ondo and Oyo state to buy.
“People really love snake! They come from far and wide to eat!” says one young woman is buying a large bag, full of snakes – “We buy from here and then use it to cook as Pepper Soup… its tastes to delicious and sweet – it tastes like fish.”
One large snake can cost up to 1400 Naira ($9) and the small snake can cost as little as 500 Naira ($3). Eating snake is popularly thought of as good for the body – “if you eat snake, you will get more strength and look more healthy,” Odunayo explains.
However, a recent study found that the snake population is crashing in Nigeria.
The causes are not known and similar severe declines in populations were found in the UK, France and Italy… but eating snakes in such numbers surely cannot help. And such declines, say environmentalists, has a massive ecological impact with considerable biodiversity loss.
But Odunayo buys her own snake to take home for her own favorite African food – pepper soup.
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