It is really amazing to find the kinds of protein that Nigerians ingest daily. Speak to about 10 Nigerians and you’d laugh your head out when you find that one finds millipedes juicy, while the other thinks Turtles make very good soup dishes. Catfishes are usually the victims as they are one of the most consumed sources of protein in Nigeria. Eggs are also very affordable and easily available. Goats, Rams, Cows are regulars in daily feeding. Camels are used to make Kilishi; a thoroughly dried, grilled and spiced meat made in Northern Nigeria. Horses are used to make Tinko; sun-dried meat with its own kinds of taste. Vultures are forbidden as different tribes believe they carry ill-luck. Snakes are well-consumed in some parts of Nigeria, while some other parts find it disgusting. However, it is based on personal preferences.
Battabox takes a trip to Nigeria’s thriving snake market in Badagry. According to one of the sellers, buyers visit from various states across Nigeria to buy the snakes. Some of the sellers also use it to make delicacies such as pepper soup and the snakes retail at about N1,400 a piece.
Check out the description by Battabox:
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.
Check out the video below: