If you find yourself in a survival situation and food is running low, you may surprise yourself by the things your brain tells you what animals it wants you to eat. Most of us who live in major metropolitan areas get the vast majority of our meats from mega marts and grocery stores in our area. For such large stores, the choices in meats are comparably few. Your choices are pretty much between poultry, pork, beef, and seafood. However, if Western civilization collapsed and we ran out of mega mart meat, what kinds of animals are good to consume in a pinch? The answers might surprise you!
They are plentiful, not terribly bright, easy to hunt, and most of all they taste good. If you can hit a soda can at 50 feet with a .22 LR, you can hunt squirrel. I’ve eaten this particular animal on many occasions, usually pan-fried. If you are from a rural area, eating squirrel may not seem odd to you at all. Trust me—your city folk friends probably think it is strange. My East Texas family regularly hunts squirrels, processes them, and tosses them in the freezer for a squirrel fry. They may be sort of cute, but trust me, even the most sensitive city dweller would eat one after missing a few meals.
A major blog out of Kansas City recently posted about Raccoon and touted it as the other dark meat. A local trapper in their area sells out of his entire stock in minutes as hungry customers meet him at his roadside market. A full-sized raccoon sells for $3 to $7 each—not per pound, and one of these furry creatures can feed five adults. Eating varmints is even in vogue these days, at least in Britain. The New York Times reported that Brits are eating a variety of varmints with enthusiasm. For the average person who probably doesn’t spend much time thinking how a steer, pig, or chicken might meet their maker, raccoons may seem too cute to eat—that is until you try one. Apparently they are excellent eating and the lack of hormones and additives make it a more natural meat selection. I’m not saying I’m going to stop buying my Walmart brand frozen bag of chicken breasts, but it’s nice to know there are other options.
For me, this one is both literally and figuratively hard to swallow. However, a fully cooked rat, as long as it isn’t carrying any diseases transferable to humans, is perfectly edible. In some parts of Asia, rat is a staple of the human diet. When you think about it, a rat is similar to a squirrel, but less cute, so eating them should be easier, right? For most Westerners, the thought of throwing a few rats on the grill for dinner doesn’t sound too appealing, but humans have been doing it for centuries. The French and Romans regularly ate rats in their diet. They have a bad wrap for spreading plague, but in reality, the fleas on rats spread the disease that wiped out a large chunk of Europe, not the rat itself. However, I’m thinking I would need an extra helping of gravy since the chances of it tasting like chicken are slim at best.
I would have to be one hungry dude. I love my pet dog, and the thought of turning Fido into dinner makes me more than a little queasy. However, in Asia and the South Pacific, dogs are a source of protein that would otherwise be lacking. A dog is far larger than a rat, so it can feed more people. According to some who have tried it, it tastes very similar to beef. If you find yourself in a Korean restaurant and don’t feel brave enough to try canine, make sure you don’t order the Gaegogi. Otherwise, you may not be able to look at Fido with a straight face when you get home. Interestingly, a man named Xavier Mertz of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition forced himself to eat his sled dog’s liver when supplies ran short. The liver was so rich in vitamin A, that it produced a dangerous condition call Hypervitaminosis A. Mertz died shortly after consuming the organ.
A good horse would no doubt come in handy in a post apocalyptic situation. However, they may be worth more than four-legged transportation. Horse meat is more popular than you might think, and it is not just for dogs. Moreover, you may be surprised to know that it is very popular in many Western countries. France, for example, has special butchers who sell nothing but horse meat. The French word for a horse meat butcher is boucherie chevaline. In the top eight horse-eating nations in the world, humans consume over four million horses each year. I guess horses should take care not to break a leg when SHTF.
If you are traveling through Asia, you might find street vendors selling cricket skewers or roasted giant water bugs. In the United States, most would consider eating bugs as an absolute last resort. The trick to eating any insect is to cook it. Even if a bug has harmful toxins or venom, a good boiling will usually negate the effect. Insects with hard shells like beetles can contain parasites, but if cooked are safe to eat. Even if you’re in a survival situation, you should be able to get a fire going. This means you can boil, roast or smoke the insects you eat. Aside from making them safe to ingest, cooking them also improves the taste. Ants, for example, have a distinct vinegar taste until they’re boiled. Another way to improve your dining experience is by removing the wings and legs from your meal. They don’t contain much nutritional value anyway. You can also remove the head—provided you don’t throw up in the process.