10/24/2012 09:21 am ET Updated Dec 24, 2012

9 Invasive Species You Can Eat (PHOTOS)

After habitat loss and global warming, invasive species are probably the third leading cause of global extinctions. I didn't see a whole lot of people doing something about this, so I decided to use my skills as a hunter, teacher and writer to fight invasive species. I spent about 16 months traveling around the U.S. and the Caribbean hunting and fishing for invasive species in order to try eating them for a book entitled, Eating Aliens. When humans decide that something in the wild is good to eat we are pretty good at running through it unless legal limits are put in place. I hypothesized that encouraging people to eat these species could leverage human self-interest to help protect the native species and ecosystems at risk from invasive species.

My mother says that I was a picky eater as a kid. In retrospect, I must have been pretty picky as an adult, too. While working on Eating Aliens I ended up eating everything from armadillos to iguanas. It turns out that most of the world tastes pretty similar to chicken, beef, and pork. My whole idea of what sort of things I would consider eating has totally been changed by the work that went into the book. Along the way I found that some of these things are more practical than others as food for the masses, but nothing turned out to be downright inedible.

Our problems with invasive species are mostly problems with human behavior. As human beings we have a collective responsibility to fix the ecological problems that humans have created. Tough as it is to swallow, that means that someone has to be the reaper. For 16 months that someone was me. These are some of the photos that I took along the way (with a few taken by the Swedish filmmaker, Helenah Swedberg, who came along for a while to film me and ended up as my girlfriend). I haven't included anything too gory, so the squeamish are welcome.

Invasive Species You Can Eat