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Wild Edible Mammals
A photo gallery Connecticut wild edible mammal species. If you have not already done so, please read our Connecticut Wild Edibles for Beginners article for a basic introduction to safety regarding wild edibles.
NOTICE: Connecticutwilderness.com and it's associates believe that killing any wild animal, unless it is for self-defense or an emergency survival situation, is an immoral act and that such an action is strongly discouraged. The information we are providing on the edibility of living animals is for survival or informational purposes only.

 
Bobcat
Bobcat (Lynx rufus)
While the meat is technically edible, most people report it as unappetizing and it is generally socially unacceptable for consumption. Not recommended. Otherwise, must be hunted in the wild (which may be illegal as well as immoral) and cooked and properly prepared.
 
Eastern Cottontail
Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus)
Rabbits are edible, flavorful, with a consistency similar to chicken. Place the skinned cleaned rabbit in a pot of salted water and allow the meat to soak for 12 hours inside the refrigerator. Rabbit can be purchased in most supermarkets and gourmet food stores. Sources: Stop & Shop, Stew Leonards, Whole Foods Market.
 
Muskrat
Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus)
Muskrats are edible. There was a custom of eating muskrat on Ash Wednesday and Fridays in Lent that apparently goes back to the early 1800s. Muskrat has the consistency of chicken, but with a unique flavor. Only the hams and shoulders of the muskrat are edible. Remove and discard the musk glands located below the stomach and legs, along with the white stringy meat attached to the musk glands. Place the hams and shoulders in a covered pot of salted cold water with a vented lid and simmer for 45 minutes. The steam should be allowed to escape through the vent in the pot lid. (If necessary, add more water during the simmering process.) Drain. The muskrat meat may now be used in a recipe. Generally must be hunted in the wild. Not recommended unless there are no alternative food sources.
 
Raccoon
Raccoon (Procyon lotor)
While primarily hunted for their fur, raccoons were a food source for Native Americas, and barbecued raccoon was a traditional food on American farms. The first edition of The Joy of Cooking, released in 1931, contained a recipe for preparing raccoon. Overall not recommended due to the risk of rabies and other diseases. Must be hunted in the wild (which may be illegal and/or immoral). Raccoons are known to carry rabies, which can be transmitted by its bite. Other than rabies, there are at least a dozen other pathogens carried by raccoons, including distemper.
 
Red Fox
Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)
Fox meat is edible, however not recommended due to the risk of diseases. Not recommeded. Otherwise, must be hunted, which may be illegal and/or immoral. Foxes can carry organisms that are responsible for several contagious diseases, such as mange, distemper, and rabies.
 
Striped Skunk
Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis)
Skunks are edible, however not generally considered appetizing due to the smell. The anal scent glands must be removed before cooking. Do not approach unless you want to get sprayed with their foul smelling odor.
 
Virginia opossum
Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana)
The opossum was once a favorite game animal in the United States, in particular in the southern regions which have a large body of recipes and folklore relating to it. Early versions of the Joy of Cooking included recipes for opossum. Many recipes can be found online. Must be hunted in the wild. Not commonly available for sale online or in markets.
 
White-Tailed Deer
White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)
Also known as venison, deer meat is prized by game hunters and gourmands. Also known as venison, deer meat can be found or ordered thru gourmet food stores and occasionally on the menu from gourmet restaurants. Game meats have a higher potential for carrying disease due to less regulation.
 

*** In the event of a suspected life-threatening poisoning emergency, call 911 immediately.***

Otherwise, the following phone numbers may be helpful:

Connecticut Poison Control Center: (860) 679-4540
American Association of Poison Control Centers: (800) 222-1222

NOTICE: ConnecticutWilderness.com and it's associates do not advocate the taking of wild species for the purpose of consumption. Information posted on this website regarding wild edibles is for educational purposes only. Consumption of wild species includes the risk of death, poisoning, vomiting, allergic reactions, and other potentially serious medical conditions. .. Read More...

Information posted on ConnecticutWilderness.com regarding the edibility of species may be inaccurate or incorrect. While we make efforts to provide accurate information, judgements made to consume a wild species should never be made based on information provided solely by ConnecticutWilderness.com alone. Positive identification of a wild species can only come with first-hand experience with the species and may require advanced identification techniques, including microscopic and chemical analysis, especially regarding fungi. In all cases, a positive identification should never be considered 100% unless a full DNA analysis is completed. It is critical to factor-in the risk of misidentification when consuming wild species.

Local laws and regulations of public and private property may, and often do, prohibit the taking, killing, or disturbance of any wild species on its property. Check your local laws and regulations.

The consumption of wild species, even after positive identification, can result in serious or deadly medical conditions. Some persons may experience an allergic reaction to wild species, even if it is generally considered safe for consumption. For many wild species, only certain parts of the species are edible, while other parts may be inedible or even poisonous. Care must be taken to avoid consumption of the poisonous parts. Many wild species require special processing such as cooking, drying, soaking, roasting, or treating with chemicals before they are safe for consumption. Failure to properly process the wild species could result in illness or death. Wild species, even after positive identification and proper preparation can cause illness or death due to contaminants. Wild species may absorb toxins from the soil or water sources. Never consume wild species from roadsides, waste areas, garbage dumps, or areas that are known or likely to contain toxins. Wild species may also cause illness as caused by decomposition or infestation caused by insects, molds, fungi, and bacteria. Consuming animals, including mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians may carry an increased risk of illness due to viruses and bacteria, including rabies. Some edible wild species can become toxic due to exposure to nearby toxic plants. If you ever have what you think may be an unpleasant or bad reaction to consuming a wild species, get medical attention immediately.


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