The skunk is a creature that many hope to avoid all through life. Once you look past the foul stench that they are known for, have you ever stopped to think about whether or not this little critter would serve up a tasty meal? When you’re stuck in the wild fighting for survival, it is essential to understand the different animals you might come across and whether or not they are worth the effort of trapping for your next meal.
Is Skunk Safe To Eat?
Skunk meat is safe to eat as long as you take the time to remove the small bacteria-filled bag from the skunk’s anus before cooking the meat. This fluid-filled sac will release all the harmful bacteria and unpleasant odor and contaminate the meat if done hastily or improperly.
Once you’ve registered that you’ll have to operate before preparing the meat carefully in order to avoid the skunk odor, you’ll also need to consider that these critters are known for carrying rabies, meaning a small cut to the finger while you prepare the meat could prove fatal.
So once you’ve gotten past the scent glands and taken the right precautions, you’ll have a decent-sized portion of skunk meat. The only issue now is trying to get the dreadful smell out of your clothes.
What Does Skunk Meat Taste Like
Skunks are edible. Historical records show that Native Americans would trap and eat skunks regularly while living off the land, proving this animal to be a viable source of nutrients.
The meat itself can be compared to rabbit or raccoon with its light color and similar flavor. A skunk is far bonier than a rabbit and won’t provide you the same amount of meat, but if you closed your eyes, you’d struggle to differentiate the two.
How Do You Prepare a Skunk?
The first step when considering skunk for your menu is the trapping process. This is what puts most people off when looking into their meat, but the trapping process might be the most straightforward bit. Just like any other animal, when dealing with a skunk, you need to know what to do upon encounter.
Skunks are just like raccoons and can be treated the same when setting up a trap. If you have some food to spare, setting up a trap will take you no time. Once the animal has been trapped, you’ll need to approach it carefully not to frighten it and set off any skunk spray with its horrendous odor.
Once you’ve avoided the defensive secretion and the animal has been dispatched, you’ll need to clean the animal well, washing it with warm water and soap if possible, paying close attention to all the crevices found in the anal region, and try to remove any detectable skunk smell.
Next, you’ll need to pat the animal dry and hang it by its hind legs. Once dried, you’ll need to grab a sharp knife, work at the animal, cut the legs, and ring the feet.
The gut system is where it starts to get a bit trickier. Rather than severing the tube, you’ll need to work between the anal canal and pelvis, freeing the tract of connective tissue. Avoid using a sharp object such as a knife for this part; your finger will suffice.
Once you’ve freed the connective tissue, you’ll be able to tie the intestines using two pieces of string, cutting in between the two knots, you’ll be able to cut it without any smell seeping out. Be very careful not to move or touch the anal gland too much as you may end up tainting the meat and giving it an unpleasant flavor.
The more you move and work at removing the tissue, the more smell you release, so try to do this quickly and effectively.
Once all the internal business is taken care of, you can start to remove the skin. This part is simple and easy if you are familiar with skinning animals. Once done, you’re free to start the cooking process. You’ll want to do a once-over and make sure that all the fat around the scent glands has been removed. These can be found in the pits of the legs, around the neck, and various other locations. Look out for small light-colored pieces that look similar to beans.
Once prepped, skunk meat is best cooked in a stew. The meat is pretty lean and works best when cooked this way. If done correctly, there will be no other unique methods required when preparing the meat. Simply season, if you have any, and tuck in.
Do Skunks Eat Meat?
Skunks are hunters, and they are foragers. They have included meat in their diet, with 90% of a skunk’s diet consisting of meat treats. What a skunk eats will determine how long it lives and how healthy it will be.
When living in the wild, skunks will eat snakes, insects, rodents, eggs, rabbits, fish, moles, reptiles, and nesting birds. Occasionally they’ll indulge in a few fruits or plants such as grass, cherries, grapes, and any berries found lying on the floor.
Skunks found closer to urban life tend to eat more poorly, eating out of bins or salvaging what’s left from a dud crop. This tells us that they will most likely suffer from intestinal worms and won’t have healthy vitamins.
Why Do Skunks Eat Meat?
Skunks have meat incorporated into their diets because their stomachs are not adapted to digesting a plant-based protein diet. Their stomachs lack the proper chemicals for the digestion process, therefore forcing them to seek food elsewhere in order to avoid any intestinal disorders.
Since they are fairly small creatures, there will be the odd occasion when they cannot find small enough prey and are forced to forage for berries. They also tend to favor prey that hibernates in the winter, limiting their food sources in the colder months.
If you’re prepared to attempt trapping this foul-smelling creature and take on the smell of skunk, you may just prove successful in scoring your next meal out in the wild. Despite not commonly eaten, skunk meat is an excellent source of protein and can deliver a tasty meal once you’ve made sure all the correct parts have been removed.