Will You Eat a Rat to Survive?

“Will you eat a rat?” is a legitimate question.  If your answer is no, you are not mentally prepared to survive.  Rats are a delicacy in parts of the world.  One of the first ideas the military teaches about surviving in a prisoner of war camp is no matter how bad the food, never miss a meal.  In a real survival situation when you are short of food, you have to eat anything and everything.  A meal missed is calories you may never get back.

During World War II when rationing was tight and food was short, many Europeans ate roof hares (a euphemism for cats) and horses.  The trick is to make up your mind ahead of time that you are a survivor.  Your attitude or psychological state is the most important ingredient in your survival.  With the right attitude and a desire to live, you can do extraordinary feats.

Early in the Second World War, the Merchant Marine noticed that the average age of survivors from sinking ships were men in their forties and fifties.  Research showed that the younger, stronger men were giving up faster, they lacked the will to survive that the older men had.  This is why the Military pushes you to exceed your limits.  Most of us have never really found out what we are capable of doing.

Once you have experienced the lack of things you take for granted, like food, medicine, and clean water, your priorities change.  My father was raised during the Great Depression.  He sometimes went to bed hungry.  I can still see how this affects him.  He always wants to have extra food around; it is a priority for him.

Regardless of what equipment you have hidden away, it all comes down to having the emotional stability, the determination and the knowledge to use it.  You will die or become a burden on your friends or family, if you become an emotional basket case.

In the article “Primitive Medicine in a Survival Situation” published in the back of the July 1977 Special Forces Medical Specialist Handbook which was written by a US Army medical doctor who was held prisoner by the North Koreans, he states.  “However, of all the things I’ve discussed, none is as important as your own will to survive.  Regardless of where you are, how miserable your circumstances, what the enemy does to you, MAKE UP YOUR MIND THAT YOU WILL LIVE THROUGH IT.  Men who should have been dead, simply refused to die.  Their secret?  They had this one idea and they kept it despite everything: I am going to live!”

I have a strong belief in God and feel that this gives me the spiritual strength to face adversity.  Whatever system of beliefs or principles you follow be sure that they are strong enough to sustain you.  Remember, you are mentally and physically stronger than you think you are and your mind is your best survival tool.



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12 thoughts on “Will You Eat a Rat to Survive?”

  1. i disagree – just ’cause i won’t eat a rat today doesn’t mean i’m not mentally fit to survive a hardship. ask me again when i’m really hungry, and i’m sure the answer will change.

    if you are willing to eat a rat in these good times, with plenty of food around and available to you, then you have something wrong mentally. my cousin used to eat bugs at age 10 because “someday we might have to eat them to survive.” that is jacked up.

    sure, someday maybe. turning down a rat today indicates rational thinking, not weakness. Too many ‘gung-ho’ types trying to prove something or put others down does NOT help the cause to get everyone self-sufficient.

    great blog otherwise! keep it up.

    1. I am not sure that what I meant came across clear, I wouldn’t eat a rat today, but I have made up my mind that I will when it is necessary. The point is to make up your mind today that you are a survivor. Howard

      1. I got it and agree. My answer is that I will not eat a rat. However, what I might have to face would most likely change my mind. I assure you, I will not be happy. But, to live I would do anything required.

  2. would i eat a rat? yep. hopefully i have barbecue and hot sauce…oh and a bunch of them…not much meat on those bones i imagine….but considering i live in the South, it will probably be easier to kill a wild boar and gut him quick to keep the meat from getting fouled.

    hope those times don’t come but i’m definitely getting into overdrive getting ready.

  3. Sure, I’d eat rat. I didn’t get a chance the last time I was in the missus village here in Thailand. They had them freshly cleaned and bbq’d on a stick in the market. I eat the insects already and rat is next on the list.

  4. It’s all meat. Growing up in a fairly sparse household, we ate anything that we could get. We trapped muskrats for their pelts and mom always made a great dinner from the meat. I don’t think we ever ate a regular ole rat, but we would have if need be. We grew up learning that anything with a little meat on it could be thrown in the stew pot with a few vegetables and you had a great meal. I know for sure that we had beaver, muskrat, woodchuck, squirrel, opossum, coon and skunk on a regular basis and none of it tasted half bad. If you know some one that traps, get a couple of muskrats or beaver and try it now. You will be surprised how good it is.

  5. Question about raccoons: How do you clean them? Most of them are infested with the potentially lethal raccoon roundworm, which can kill or blind, and is located in the gut. People talk about eating raccoon, but I know of someone in our area blinded by cleaning the excrement.

  6. I’d eat a rat. We eat squirrel all the time; not much difference. I hunt them right in the middle of the city. The best place is near the schools…the schools are loaded with oak trees. I can kill five squirrels in thirty minutes. Kids playing basketball, moms pushing strollers, teachers coming and going. No one suspects a thing. All you need is a few screws, rat traps, and dollar store peanut butter. Screw the traps to the oak trees 4 or 5 feet off the ground in an out of the way area, bait with peanut butter, and wait. Keep a small dark plastic bag on you when you retrieve your dinner. Remove your traps when you catch your limit. Victor traps work better than TomCat traps for squirrel.

  7. I think it’s about necessity. People will eat anything if they have to. I’ve seen people eat things that made me retch in Africa and a few other places. Thankfully I never had to, and I would avoid it for as long as I can, but need be, I will eat a rat and be thankful.

  8. During the German siege of Paris in 1870, residents had to eat whatever animals were at hand. Daily News correspondent Henry Labouchère recorded his opinions:
    Horse: “eaten in the place of beef … a little sweeter … but in other respects much like it”
    Cat: “between rabbit and squirrel, with a flavor all its own”
    Donkey: “delicious — in color like mutton, firm and savory”
    Rat: “excellent — between frog and rabbit”
    Spaniel: “like lamb, but I felt like a cannibal”
    “This siege will destroy many illusions,” he wrote, “and amongst them the prejudice which has prevented many animals being used as food. I can most solemnly assert that I never wish to taste a better dinner than a joint of a donkey or a ragout of cat — experto crede.”

    A more modern reference is the book Jungle Soldier, the true story of LTC Freddy Spencer Chapman of the British Special Operations Executive, who evaded behind Japanese lines in Malaya for 1226 days, cut off from contact or resupply from British forces, being hunted by the Japanese, being afflicted by malaria, scabies, typhus, pneumonia, dengue fever and ulcers before being evacuated to Ceylon by submarine in May, 1945. Rats were among his more conventional sources of protein.
    And for something more scholarly: https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1029&context=vpc14
    Denver Wildlife Research Center, P.O. Box 25266, Denver, Colorado 80225-0266.
    ABSTRACT: Rodents, one of several kinds of vertebrates included in the human diet, are very suitable as human food. More than 71 genera and 89 species of rodents, mostly hystricomorphs, have been consumed by man. Some have even been domesticated for private or commercial production of food for human consumption. Rodents in the temperate world serve only as a supplement to the regular diet of humans; but in the tropical world, they are widely accepted and a popular source of protein. Although harvesting field rats for human food is beneficial, it is not an effective pest control strategy. Consuming rodents in pesticide-treated areas and handling rodents with potential zoonoses are two possible risks.
    Proc. 14th Vertebr. Pest Conf. (L.R. Davis and R.E. Marsh, Eds.)
    Published at Univ. of Calif., Davis. 1990.
    Some interesting extracts from the article:
    At the University of Arizona, pack rats (Neotoma sp.) are consumed by a social club (Secret Order of the Neotoma Eater) that insists these rodents are a delicacy (Anon. 1987).

    History of Rodent Eating
    Peruvians have been consuming guinea pigs for centuries. The guinea pig, domesticated since at least 2500 B.C. (Lanning 1967), was the first rodent raised for food. By the 15th century A.D. (during the Incaic Empire), it was the principal meat consumed. Capybara (Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris)may have been domesticated in Brazil as early as A.D. 1565 (Gonzalez-Jimenez 1984).
    Early Chinese ate “household deer” [common rat (probably Rattus norvegicus or R. flavipectus) and bamboo rat (Rhizomys spp.)] and during the Tang dynasty (A.D. 618-907) ate newborn rats stuffed with honey, conveniently snatching them with chopsticks (Hendrickson 1983).
    Romans popularized the edible dormouse [Myoxus (=Glis) glis] by the 2nd century. It was caught from the wild in autumn when it was fattest and either roasted and dipped into honey or baked while stuffed with a mixture of pork, pine nuts, and other flavorings. Romans also raised dormice in special pots called “gliraria” and in large outdoor enclosures where they were fed walnuts, chestnuts, and acorns for fattening (Brothwell and Brothwell 1969). Southeastern Europeans still enjoy dormice.
    The Maoris of New Zealand used snares and pit traps in family hunting territories to trap the kiore or Polynesian rat 149(R. exulans, Best 1942). In the 16th century, they introduced this rat to Polynesia as a food item by carrying it in their ships.
    Elsewhere the Irula, a tribal group in India, has traditionally included rats in its diet and today is hired by Indian farmers to capture rodent pests.
    More recently, a United States Army Quartermaster Corps survey identified 42 different societies in which people eat rats (Harris 1985). Traditionally we think of “rat eaters” (rodentiophagists?) as belonging to primitive societies–small groups living in remote areas with large, undisturbed land areas available for hunting and trapping small mammals. However, squirrel hunters in America today could be considered just as traditional. The gray squirrel is a rodent in the Sciuromorpha suborder, one of the most important game animals in the United States. About 40 million gray squirrels, popularly referred to as “tree rats” in the US southern states, (Sciurus carolinensis) and a lesser number of fox squirrels (S. niger) are harvested annually (Flyger and Gates 1982).

  9. Might want to look at a movie called King Rat. It actually has quite a few tips on how things may be and how to cope in a SHTF situation though it was set in a POW camp not End of World type.

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