View Full Version : Has anyone eaten any of those Gambian rats in Florida?

March 28, 2012, 10:22 PM
I know they're "rats", but these aren't sewer rats, and what is a squirrel but a tree rat?

And if I recall - people in Louisiana eat the Nutria- (some people) and the Nutria is a giant rodent...

These Gambian rats are like 9 or 10 pounds, I'm wondering if they're good eatin.

March 28, 2012, 11:03 PM
If I still lived there, I'd try em.

When I was in college, I raised rabbits and big hooded rats in rows of cages behind our trailer. We ate the rabbits and sold the rats as snake food (lots of college kids apparently have snakes) and I always threatened to cook up a mess of them big ol rats one day, but my roommate completely forbade it. We ate squirrels, but apparently rats were off the menu.

March 29, 2012, 02:53 AM
If they're found in the panhandle, I probably ate some without knowing it.

And, if they're anything like Nutria, they probably taste better than ground squirrels or squirrels found in pine trees (also rodents).

(I had a friend that lived off any kind of protein he could get for free - particularly road kill. Even if his protein sources seemed "gross", his food was delicious. Nutria was greasy, but better than fishing for seconds in the toilet bowl.)

March 29, 2012, 02:22 PM
Lousiana had a state program to sell Nutria to China.

I guess they were going to pay bounties on the Nutria, process the meat and sell it to China but the Chinese didn't go for it.

I'm kind of surprised really because the Chinese eat Toddycats / civits, I figure they'd eat Nutria.

Man I wonder what those Gambian rats taste like.

I bet they're easier to raise than chicken and would hold their own in a fight with a fox or a coon.

March 29, 2012, 02:50 PM
I guess I'd eat a skunk if I was hungry enough but these guys look to much like a rat to interest me. Looks like these little guys will eat about anything but for now, I sure won't. .... ;)

Currently, these rats have become an invasive species on Grassy Key in the Florida Keys[3].
This outsized African rodent is also believed to be responsible for the current outbreak of monkeypox in the United States. In 2003, the United States' CDC and FDA issued an order preventing the importation of the rodents following the first reported outbreak of monkeypox. Around 20 individuals were affected.[4] Several African species are believed to carry the disease.
They are still illegal to import from outside the U.S.[5]

Be Safe !!!

March 29, 2012, 07:45 PM
I imagine it depends on what they eat. Squirrels eat mostly nuts, forbs, roots and such, rabbits eat veggies, and Nutria eat plants. The taste of any animal is affected by what it eats. I don't eat animals that eat 'crap'.

March 30, 2012, 01:42 AM
I don't eat animals that eat 'crap'.
Stay away from fish, then. ;)

When they're done eating crap, they swim in it.
...it's especially true for those oh-so-delicious bottom-dwellers... (shrimp, crab, lobster, flounder, cod, etc...)

March 30, 2012, 05:10 AM
they probably taste better than ground squirrels or squirrels found in pine trees (also rodents).
Your joking right? I don't know what your squirrels taste like, but here in Florida, they are the best thing going.

This about sums it up.

As for the OP, I have never come across one. I'd probably eliminate it as an invasive species and leave it for the other wild life to eat. I'll pass on the monkey pox.

March 30, 2012, 07:50 AM
Iamdb, there was a discussion about the taste of squirrels a month or so ago. The problem with some FL squirrels (as well as those in other southern states) is that if their diet consists primarily of pine cones then their meat is going to be severely tainted by the turpentine in the pine. It makes them taste nasty.

March 30, 2012, 08:09 AM
Interesting, I haven't noticed a turpentine taste. I don't even marinate or season my squirrels. I just split them down the middle and throw on the grill whole. I have never eaten northern squirrel so I cant really compare. Tampa squirrels are mighty tasty ;)

March 30, 2012, 10:25 AM
These Gambian Pouch Rats, are classified as Omnivores and even though not a true rat, they eat just about anything the comes their way, not like a squirrel or other Herbivores. I have eaten Muskrat and they pretty much stick to cattail shoots. .... ;)

Years ago, when we had Hobo jungles, we use to trade with them for Possum that we sometimes caught in our traps. One day decided I'd clean one out and see how they cooked up. Just barely got past the skinning, stopped and traded it off as well ..... :eek:

Be Safe !!!

March 30, 2012, 11:43 AM
When i was in Viet Nam we use to target practice on the rats at the dump were the Army dumped the spoiled veggie they bought and could not use or ship out by air( my job was to load the airplanes). We would shoot several and wait for the local peasants to collect the dead rats. The locals ate the rats. When we were down town the vendors would be selling meat on a stick cooked over a charcoal fire , we joked about it being rat or cat or even snake. I wasn't have bad either. It was protein

March 31, 2012, 11:41 PM
You can get rabbit fever if you're not careful about butchering a rabbit.

I don't know if monkey pox even exists in this Florida population of Gambian rats. I think if it did - we'd have an outbreak because it passes to other rodents easily - including squirells.

April 1, 2012, 12:14 AM
There are some large rodents in South America (capybara & paca) that make pretty good eating. Of course, in the wild they're strictly plant eaters which may have a significant impact on their taste.

Are the Gambian rats really getting up to 10lbs in FL? I thought they normally only grew to about 3lbs.

April 1, 2012, 01:31 AM
1) The guy in the story is not wearing gloves, I'm guessing the threat of monkey pox is small

2) This story says they get to 9 lbs, but I've read other stories that say they get to be 9-10lbs

3) They are bred as livestock in Africa

4) The one that the guy is holding in the story looks like it has a lot more meat on it than a squirrel

5) I've been vaccinated twice for smallpox, once when I was a kid and again in the Army. For people like me, the odds of getting monkey pox are less than a tenth of one percent and even then it would be a very mild case - maybe a mild fever and a blister or two.

6) It looks like these things have already reached the mainland since a guy in NYC killed one.


April 2, 2012, 03:33 AM
The problem with some FL squirrels (as well as those in other southern states) is that if their diet consists primarily of pine cones then their meat is going to be severely tainted by the turpentine in the pine. It makes them taste nasty.

Same problem with the little red squills in Alaska. Their diet consists of spruce cones and they taste like well......... a spruce tree. They'd sustain life in a pinch, but they wouldn't be good eatin'.

April 2, 2012, 12:39 PM
I've eaten rat more than once. It wasn't half bad.

April 2, 2012, 01:44 PM
Your joking right? I don't know what your squirrels taste like, but here in Florida, they are the best thing going.

This about sums it up.
I was referring to ground squirrels, in particular, but the statement also applies to "Western" tree squirrels. We don't have many nuts out here, and most of the rodent foods leave their meat tasting pretty nasty.

Having lived in Florida, as well, I can tell you that the taste squirrels take on is very different, in the different habitats. They may be living in "pine" trees in both places, but they're very different species, and very different habitats.

You are what you eat, and out west.... I'd rather eat used toilet paper, than squirrels from most pine habitats.

April 4, 2012, 12:24 AM
Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern on the Travel Channel was in Asia somewhere where they had rats skewered on sticks and they ate them. One of my old bosses was in the Belgian underground in WWII and was captured by the Germans and in their prison camps. They ate snails when walking in the yards to survive (since the Germans didn't feed them enough to survive). I guess if you are hungry you'll eat anything. Those big rats would have been like eating steak to those guys.

April 4, 2012, 10:14 AM
But I have eaten rat in Korea and the Philippines,,,
If memory serves me correctly,,,
It was called ke-gogi.

Not bad at all,,,
It was the cat that was horribly greasy.



April 4, 2012, 12:05 PM
When working in Asia or any third world country, my rule is if it taste good and I don't get sick I enjoy the dish and don't ask what it is. I am sure that when I was in Korea I ate a lot of rat and dog when visiting my favorite resturants down town.

If well cooked and prepared correctly the rats would make a tastey meal.

April 4, 2012, 01:29 PM
I must agree with the idea that the taste of the critter depends largely on its diet. I have never had western squirrel, but I had an uncle that would serve them pretty regularly when we visited in Kentucky... nice and tasty. Same with rabbits (I know they're not rodents, but the principle is the same). Every once in a while he would get some funny tasting rabbits, and he eventually figured out that it was because of something they ate locally at a certain time of the year. He just avoided them during that time of year, and never had the problem again (don't remember the details on what it was they were eating - that was a long time ago).
Long story short - if you can find out what they are eating, that gives a pretty good guidance as to whether they are good to eat.

April 4, 2012, 01:34 PM
I ate a lot of rat and dog when visiting my favorite resturants down town.
Between fleet landing and out favorite bars, in the port of Piraeus Greece, there were two wheeled carts that were selling shish kebab sandwiches. The carts were all decked out with a small charcoal pot and all the fixings, including pita bread. They had skewed meat that they deposited into the pita bread and then topped with lettuce and some dressing. They were fantastic, especially on top of the beer. .... ;)

One morning in our Plan of the Day, there was a warning about these carts selling cat and dog meat. That put a stop to that for at least one maybe two days. They were really that good !!! ... :)

Be Safe !!!

April 15, 2012, 02:13 PM
No rats but had beaver drumsticks last eve for dinner.

Plus muskrat is even better than chicken and the muskrat is a whale of a lot cleaner than a chicken.

Sure Shot Mc Gee
April 15, 2012, 03:58 PM
I'm wondering if they're good eatin.
So long as it wasn't too game'ee tasting I'd give'em a try. I've tried beaver, raccoon and muskrat rear legs. Oh and little Red Squirrels too (< gassy litt'l suckers!!) Otherwise I'll just take my fork and dig into a can of Spam to satisfy my exotic taste-buds for now. Who knows maybe by latter this Summer I might find Gambian Rat on a Stick at our State Fair._:D To qnswer the OPs question: Nope! >not yet. :)

April 16, 2012, 04:20 AM
I just read a couple blurbs about the Gambian pouched rats, and it seems that they can be trained to sniff out land mines and tuberculosis.