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Giant cannibal shrimp or marauding swamp beavers can ruin the day for wildlife biologists, but the rest of us may as well make the best of it. Animals like these are invasive species, non-native flora and fauna whose presence threatens the environment and sometimes even human health. And while the government agencies use nets, poisons and traps to try to wipe them out, plenty of chefs and diners are doing their part with grills, forks and frying pans.

Jars of yellow dandelion wine.
Dandelion wine. Yum! images via eaththeinvaders.org

Invasive species are such a nuisance largely because they have no natural predators to keep populations in check. Enter "invasavores," people who hunt and harvest invasive species for food. If you just spent your weekend shooting wild hogs or plucking dandelion leaves and are looking for recipes, try eatheinvaders.org. The site features recipes like blackened snakehead with piña colada salsa and strawberries, pickled purslane and kudzu blossom sorbet. There are also recipes for other edible invasives, including burdock, periwinkle, bullfrogs, lionfish and green iguanas.

This week’s article was featured in the spring 2013 edition of Heifer International's World Ark Magazine. For more at-home tips and stories of our work around the world, download our free, award-winning tablet World Ark App for iPad or Android!  

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Heifer International

Heifer International is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization working with communities to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth.