While not everyone is comfortable with trying out different kinds of meat, food enthusiasts have a different take. Experimenting with different kinds of food and trying out need types of meat is their biggest knack, but in doing so, it should be kept in mind that not every meat is safe and fit for consumption.
Questions surrounding squirrel meat and is it safe to eat squirrels or not have been popping up frequently on the internet, Hence, if you too want to know whether squirrel meat is safe for consumption or not then read till the end to know in detail about it.
When Is It Safe to Eat Squirrel Meat?
The most common type of squirrel that is hunted and eaten is the gray squirrel. They are popular in the United States and are found commonly in backyards and parks. Their availability makes them a leading choice for hunting.
However, a huge factor that decides whether the squirrel is safe to eat or not depends on the weather in which you are hunting. If it is summer then there are high chances that the squirrel is infested with mites, lice, bugs, parasites, and fleas.
If consumed in this state, it can have serious adverse effects on your health. However, if you hunt them down in winter, there are fewer chances of the squirrel being contaminated with any kind of bug or parasite, making it safe for consumption.
Beware of Diseases Carried by Squirrels
While eating squirrels is not a new practice, you must be aware of certain diseases that are carried by squirrels.
One of the most dangerous diseases carried by squirrels is Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The disease is popularly known as mad-cow disease and is known to make humans into zombies by eating up parts of their brains and drilling holes in them.
Eating squirrels in excess amount for a longer period can also lead to a fatal mental disease, especially if you are eating its brain or the spinal fluid. In a popular case reported by a man in Rochester, the man ate a squirrel infected with prion disease after which he suffered from severe memory loss, loss of basic mental facilities, and muscle problems.
The worst part of all these is that there is no way of knowing whether the squirrel meat that you are eating is safe for consumption or not. While hunting them in winter and avoiding eating the brain and spinal fluid does reduce the chances of catching these diseases, it does not eliminate them.
For additional safety, you should also cut out all the glands of the furry animal before preparing to cook it. Since these diseases are not easy to identify, it is better if you buy the meat from a reputed seller or opt for a cooked meal by a well-known restaurant.
While expert hunters still stand a chance in identifying good meat, amateurs should not take the risk. Apart from the diseases, squirrel meat has high cholesterol which makes it unfit for individuals with heart conditions.
Benefits Of Eating Squirrel Meat
Along with the treat to your taste buds, if you also want to know if squirrel meats have any health benefit or not then you are in luck. Squirrel meats are lean and have a much higher content of protein than chicken and beef. Apart from that, it is also rich in Vitamin B6, B12, and niacin. So that while you enjoy your treat, you can also add value to your body.
Important Facts about Squirrel Meat
Before we wrap up the topic, let us look at a few facts about squirrel meat:
- Squirrel meat is soft, lean, and has a sweet taste.
- They have a firm texture and taste a lot like a wild rabbit, only a little sweeter.
- It is also a good source of Riboflavin, Phosphorus and Selenium
- The meat remains good only till 3 to 4 days after the hunt. Hence, it should be cooked and consumed within that time frame.
This was all that you should know about squirrel meat and how safe they are. While no one can vouch for the safety aspect if you still want to taste the meat it is better to do so from a reputed place.
We hope this article was helpful and all your doubts were cleared. If you have any further queries, feel free to reach out to us in the comment section below.