Porcupines may not sound appetizing, but if you’re in a survival situation, they may be one of the best animals to find.
If you find yourself stuck in the woods and needing something to eat, a porcupine is a wonderful thing to come across.
Sound weird? It’s not. They are considered one of nature’s best survival foods for a reason. Find out the top five things that make porcupine perfect as a survival food.
1. They’re slow
Porcupines have short legs and a heavy, stout body. Their walk looks more like an awkward waddle and you will never see one run. This means you can hunt one down and catch it without breaking a sweat.
2. They have really bad eyesight
Porcupines are short-sighted and don’t wander far from their den. The fact that their eyesight’s bad can help you sneak up on them, but be careful, they have excellent hearing and can smell very well.
3. You can kill them by hand
Because porcupines are so slow, they can’t run away from you. People say you can bludgeon them to death with a rock, but that seems a little too bloody and closer than most would venture going.
Instead, sharpen a stick and stab the porcupine in the head or through the lungs and heart. Beware of their tail. Not only is it covered in quills, but they whip it when feeling threatened.
4. They’ve got a lot of meat on them
Porcupines are the world’s third largest rodent. Adults can weigh as much as 30 pounds, grow as long as 30 inches and have up to 30,000 quills. If you’re hungry, one porcupine can feed you for days, supplying you with protein and energy.
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5. You can eat them raw
It may not be venison back strap, but you can eat porcupine raw. Their diet consists of plants, twigs, leaves and tree bark, which means the meat is safe even if it’s not cooked. The liver is especially delicious when chilled in snow and eaten fresh.
More Tips and Facts
- The porcupine’s diet impacts how the meat tastes. If it’s winter and there are a lot of conifers around, the meat may have a taste almost like turpentine. It doesn’t mean it’s not good to eat; it just doesn’t taste the best.
- Porcupines have a lot of fat to help keep them warm. Some people love the taste of porcupine fat and say it makes the meat that much tastier. Others feel it ruins the meat and makes it too greasy. They suggest skinning the fat off before cooking. It’s up to you to decide how you want to eat your porcupine, but the fat will give you extra calories in a do or die situation.
- Porcupines are primarily nocturnal, but sometimes they do venture out in daylight. They like to sleep in caves and hollow trees, and sometimes you can catch them lounging in trees.
- If you happen to get stuck by a quill or two, snip them before trying to pull them out. Some say this releases pressure and makes the quill “relax” and loosen in the skin. The quill has a barbed end and therefore is not the easiest thing to remove. Grab it with a pair of needle nose pliers and pull. It’s going to hurt a little, but it’s the only way to get it out.