The Black Squirrel is a subspecies of the general grey squirrel with a genetic mutation in their fur color. The average urban person has probably never seen a black squirrel in real life, never mind thinking it is edible. In addition, for many, they are just fast, cute, and sometimes destructive little entertainers.
Survivalists and most hunters would answer with a distinctive, yes, but there is caution by some not to eat squirrel meat during summer months as parasites may contaminate it. However, black and grey squirrels are the same species, and their nutty-flavored flesh is protein-filled and generally safe to eat.
Squirrel meat tastes like chicken, and some recipes even substitute a chicken with two squirrels. However, are there precautions to take before cooking squirrel meat? Can you hunt them all year round, and what happens when you eat black squirrel brains? Let us get answers to these questions.
Are Black Squirrels Edible?
Squirrels are primarily eaten in the US, followed by the UK. In addition, Black Squirrels are usually less common as they are perceived as unique and then treated as celebrities. However, the different colored squirrel variations are related to gene variations resulting in other fur colors.
So, you can eat black squirrels as only the color of the fur differs, and there is no difference in the meat. In the wild and most rural areas, all tree squirrels are just tree squirrels, regardless of the color of their fur.
In addition, a survivalist will be colorblind and will not even notice any color.
Tree squirrel colors vary between grey, red, white, and black. However, hunting rules differ by region and dictate the types and colors per hunting season. In general, people are encouraged to consume the overpopulated grey squirrels in the hope that it will allow other colors to thrive.
How Does The Meat Of The Black Squirrel Taste?
Opinions vary between rabbit and chicken, but with a firmer, drier, and delicate texture. In addition, it is light in color and does not have much fat. The nutty flavor may result from spending most of their time feeding on various nuts and seeds in the wild. This nutty flavor may differ for urban squirrels.
Is Black Squirrel Meat Healthy?
It is not bad for you, but it may not be everybody’s favorite, like wild animal meat. In addition, there is no guarantee that it will not have any harmful side effects on you.
However, a portion of squirrel meat contains more protein than an equal portion of chicken or beef and is less fatty.
Their nutrient-rich meat without any commercial added antibiotics can only benefit your body. Hunting and eating squirrels are one way to get your daily intake of protein and tasty meat supplements at almost no cost.
In addition, trading crafts from their fur and tail can provide added value for the handy person.
Can You Get Sick From Eating Squirrels?
Wild meat has the same risk as any other meat product as it may be subjected to contamination with bacteria. However, public health officials inspect commercial meat products and comply with many safety precautions before consumption. Eating a hunted squirrel bypasses all of that.
Squirrels should not be hunted for consumption during the summer as warmer months create an environment conducive to parasites, ticks, mites, and fleas. Therefore, the risk of the squirrel meat being contaminated increases.
Precautions To Take Before Eating Squirrels
Always take precautions when handling meat. Skinning squirrels or preparing the meat is no different. The scent glands can give a musky flavor to the flesh, but most people recommend removing them as they may contain diseases.
Also, squirrels may eat rodent pesticides that affect their meat in urban areas.
In addition, please refrain from eating their brains. Prion disease is an actual threat, and you can get it when eating the brains of contaminated animals. Squirrels are part of the rodent category but do not carry rabies.
The cooking process will kill most bacteria but be aware of Salmonella and tickborne diseases.
Squirrel Meat Recipe Options
Most chicken recipes work well for squirrels. For example, the southern fried method and squirrel pastries are very popular. One squirrel has enough meat to feed one adult person with the rear legs containing the most flesh.
In addition, the thinnish squirrel loins will cook faster than the other portions.
Frying squirrels or a slow-cooked squirrel pot with some vegetables are other popular options. Of course, eating squirrels can be driven by economics, but many restaurants also return this delicatessen to their menus. I found this informative video on Catch and Cook a Black Squirrel.
You can watch the entire video on YouTube.
How Rare Are Black Squirrels?
Some areas have the grey squirrel wholly taken over, and people are then actively campaigning to focus on culling them for conservation purposes.
On the other hand, Black squirrels are easier to recognize by hunters, and deforestation creates more open areas in which lighter-colored varieties thrive.
So, many will then argue that black squirrels are rare, but it depends on the country and area where the various color populations differ immensely. For example, black squirrels will thrive in regions with freezing winters where their black fur will help them survive and adapt.
An estimation shows that only about one percent of squirrels are black or white. The red squirrel population is also diminishing as the grey squirrel population is booming. Black squirrels are perceived to be more predominant in Ontario, Michigan, and areas around the Great Lakes.
When Can You Hunt Black Squirrels
The squirrel’s classification is by type and not by color for hunting. In addition, it is more preferred to hunt grey tree squirrels as they are the most populated in many areas. The best is to consult your local wildlife authority or conservation department to inquire about squirrel hunting legalities in your region.
Many states in the US allow squirrel hunting during the winter months, thus adding to the meat’s safe consumption. In addition, ticks and other parasites are less active, which lessens the probability of squirrel meat contamination.
For example, California classified ground squirrels as nongame mammals, whereby a property owner can control the squirrel population to protect growing crops or other property. However, tree squirrels are classified as game animals and require a permit for hunting them.
The Different Squirrel Types
All colored tree squirrels are, in fact, the same species and vary in color shades, with the grey squirrel being more prominent all over the world in comparison to the red, white, and black squirrels.
The grey squirrel is a combination of the three with black, white, and red patches.
Also, tree squirrels have more furry tails and more prominent ears than the other squirrel types. Whereby ground, squirrels have shorter legs and less furry tails and live on the land. On the other hand, flying squirrels appear to fly when they glide between trees.
Although some tree squirrels are black, it does not mean they are a different type of squirrel species. They can be hunted within the region’s hunting law boundaries and have the same meat as their grey or red cousins.
Like it or not, it is better than starving if you have nothing else.
- Can Squirrel Meat Make You Sick?
- Do Squirrels Have Rabies?
- Do You Need A Hunting License to Shoot Squirrels?