You’ll want to know what common animals you shouldn’t eat in an emergency. There are plenty of animals you can hunt, cook, and eat safely, but plenty more can harm you! To stay prepared, you must know what you can and shouldn’t eat.
These are the seven common animals that you should never eat in an emergency or prepping situation:
The sad fact about survival is that many common animal meat sources might be more likely to harm you than help you. If you can’t properly prepare these animals for food, you’ll experience adverse effects. There’s a lot to learn, so you’ll want to keep reading and discover which common animals you should avoid.
1. Raw Squirrels
Did you know that squirrels are one of the most common animals globally? However, they’re one of the worst animals you can eat for long-term survival. While cooking and eating them occasionally is OK, you won’t want to do it in a survival situation.
Squirrels are rodents that carry a variety of parasites and bacteria. You’re sure to get sick if you try to eat them raw. Even if you cook them, it’s still not worth eating them—unless you have no other options.
These rodents can also cause Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a very rare brain disease. Squirrels can carry prion proteins, which damage your brain by creating holes in the tissue. Most people prefer to avoid eating squirrels even in emergencies due to the risk. They also carry many parasites.
These animals are also very tiny and don’t offer a lot of calories since they have diets mainly consisting of nuts and berries. If you eat them consistently, you’ll starve- even if you feel full. You’ll probably burn more calories trying to catch the squirrel than you’ll gain by eating this animal.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that a single 3 oz (85.04 g) serving of squirrel only contains 102 calories. It also has barely any fats and other nutrients. In many survival situations, squirrel meat is too lean for you to benefit from eating it. You’d need to eat many of these creatures to get enough protein for the day!
Overall, squirrel meat is dangerous to eat. While it can occasionally make for a survival meal, you’re not getting enough nutrition or calories from eating these rodents daily. Plus, they carry a ton of diseases, bacteria, and parasites. So, if you don’t have to risk it, don’t touch them.
Next, rabbits are a common animal you won’t want to eat. Never try to survive on rabbits as your primary source of food. It’ll only take a week before you suffer from Rabbit Starvation- also known as protein poisoning.
Protein poisoning occurs when a person eats too much protein without enough carbs or fat for a long time. Rabbit meat is extremely lean, so it doesn’t offer any other nutrients, even though you might get enough protein and calories from it.
That means your body will quickly become malnourished. Many survivalists recommend avoiding rabbit meat because of Rabbit Starvation. You’ll also need to capture and eat a lot of rabbits to feel full for a single day, so it’s generally not worth it- unless you’d starve otherwise.
Protein poisoning is very dangerous and can cause many of these symptoms:
- Lower blood pressure
- Slowed heart rate
However, you can easily treat Protein Poisoning, even in an emergency. You’ll need to balance your diet to ensure a healthy mixture of macronutrients. If you continue eating rabbits even with protein poisoning, it’ll lead to protein toxicity, which is the protein buildup in your body. Your kidneys can fail since they won’t be able to handle all the protein.
In short, rabbits can cause you much harm if you need to eat many of them to survive. Their meat is too lean for it to be beneficial for long-term survival. Instead, you’ll want to find other protein sources as soon as possible. That way, you can avoid Rabbit Starvation.
Bats are another common animal that you shouldn’t eat. The consuming bat can lead to many diseases if you don’t prepare the meat correctly. You might not have the tools or resources required to make the bat safe for consumption in emergencies.
These creatures can carry various diseases, passing them easily to humans who eat them. They can carry many zoonotic diseases, Ebola and Marburg viruses, and rabies. Getting an intense sickness like this is something you want to avoid while trying to survive.
While many countries enjoy bats as a delicacy, this isn’t an animal you should catch and eat. Bats carry more diseases than any other animal, making them extremely dangerous to eat if you aren’t experienced in preparing their meat for consumption.
Plus, you can get bitten or scratched by a bat while trying to trap it. You can receive rabies or even Ebola from the bat if this happens. Both of these diseases are fatal without receiving treatments—which you probably won’t have access to if you survive in the wilderness.
Overall, many experienced preppers agree that you should stay away from bats. They carry many diseases and can easily infect you if they bite you. Plus, bats are very small and might not be worth eating for survival unless you can capture them in large numbers.
Next, you won’t want to eat wild geese if you can help it. While they may have a lot of fat and protein on their body, geese can carry a variety of diseases and parasites. Plus, they hold many bacteria and even viruses, like avian influenza (the bird flu). They can be extremely dangerous if you don’t correctly prepare their meat!
For example, wild geese carry toxoplasmosis, cryptosporidium, and giardia. These parasites can easily infect you and cause a lot of harm to your body. Many cause diarrhea too, which can cause death through dehydration. These parasites can even transfer to you through drinking water that geese swim in, so make sure you always sterilize anything you plan to drink.
Toxoplasmosis, cryptosporidium, and giardia are dangerous to those with compromised immune systems. If you’ve survived for a long time, your immune system might not be as strong as before, meaning these parasites can be deadly.
In short, geese are a common animal you won’t want to eat. They carry a variety of diseases and parasites that are sure to make surviving in the wild a lot harder than it already is. I recommend that you do your best never to eat them in the wild since you won’t have a reliable way to prepare them without risking infection.
It can be a bit risky to eat any waterfowl that you find. Wild ducks can also have the same problems mentioned above as geese. Consuming undercooked duck can be very dangerous, so you’ll want to ensure that you cook it well.
Eating raw duck can cause nausea, diarrhea, and fever. Plus, these birds can also carry parasites and diseases. If you only have access to waterfowl for protein, you’ll need to ensure that you cook them well.
Many people consider geese to be riskier to eat than other types of waterfowl. You’ll still want to understand and ensure you’re aware of the dangers before consuming them.
Like geese, cats can carry toxoplasmosis, which is fatal to those with a weakened immune system. Cats can also have other parasites, which can lead to further complications. For instance, if you eat a cat with worms, you could also become infected.
Some of these parasites include roundworms and hookworms, which are harmful to people. They may not be fatal, but you don’t want to get them while trying to survive an emergency.
Symptoms you may experience include:
- Stomach pains
Worms can also prevent your body from absorbing nutrients from your food, which is very dangerous when trying to survive off the grid.
Lastly, toxoplasmosis can cause cysts to spread in your brain tissue or muscles. If they rupture, you can go blind or take severe damage to your internal organs. While toxoplasmosis is treatable, you need to receive that treatment quickly. Outdoors, you might not have that option.
Overall, it would be best if you didn’t eat wild cats because you don’t know what infections they may carry. It’s better to be safe than sorry in this situation.
You also won’t want to eat eels. Eels are common worldwide, as you can find them in fresh and saltwater bodies. If you happen to trap one, you should let it go instead of trying to cook it.
Eels absorb many harmful chemicals into their bodies. You’ll then ingest everything the eel has taken in if you eat one. Your body might not process the chemicals well, leading to poisoning or other complications.
Additionally, eels contain blood that’s poisonous to us if consumed in its raw form. Luckily our gastric process and the cooking process neutralizes many of the toxins. Even so, blood from certain species of eels can be deadly to you.
Eel is never served raw at restaurants, and it’s usually more expensive than other fish since it needs more care to cook it safely. The blood can also cause muscle cramps or interact with your heart in dangerous ways.
Eel blood can come out through cooking, but it’s usually too risky to do without the proper cooking equipment. Instead, let it go if you catch an eel while fishing. You won’t receive any benefits from eating it, which can be very harmful!
You might not run into eels as often as the other animals on this list, but they’re still fairly common. You can find eels all over the globe, in all bodies of water, so you must know not to catch and eat them.
Not all catfish species are unsafe to eat, but you must be very careful. Catfish are another common fish, although they can be dangerous to consume. Typically, catfish you buy from the grocery store come from specialized farms, making them safe to enjoy.
However, if you’re trying to survive off fish, you must throw any catfish you catch back into the pond. Mercury and other toxins can quickly build up in these fish’s systems. Plus, some species of catfish contain venom for self-defense. If you don’t know what species you caught, it’s best not to eat it.
Most importantly, catfish are bottom feeders and don’t care about what they eat. They consume other fish that fall to the bottom of the pond and die. When you eat catfish, you can’t be sure they haven’t eaten anything harmful to your body.
Bottom-feeding fish are much more likely to have high levels of harmful chemicals in their bodies since they live in the mud. They can be concentrated in the fish, making them more dangerous for you to eat.
If you aren’t getting your catfish from a clean, reliable source, you want to avoid eating them. Not all catfish are harmful, but avoiding eating fish from this common species is better if you can’t identify them.
Always Choose Meat Carefully
Meat is an essential food group when trying to survive outside. You’ll have trouble getting enough protein from other types of food in the wild. However, you’ll still need to be picky when choosing what to eat. Otherwise, you could get very sick. Many animals carry diseases or parasites you’ll want to know how to get rid of before eating.
What kinds of meat you eat will also depend on where you live. Additionally, you won’t want to eat the above animals. In a survival situation, you’re not likely to be able to prepare them safely.