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The 3 WORST Animals To Eat For Long-Term Survival

The 3 WORST Animals To Depend On For Survival

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Imagine this situation: You silently enter a nearby piece of woods and move stealthily along some edge cover. You take each step with care, hoping to avoid a hazardous one that would snap a twig beneath your feet and signal your presence to the entire surrounding woods. Fate has landed you in this situation, where your survival depends on your skill with a gun and your knowledge of the land.

Up ahead your prey is feeding, unaware of your presence. Ever so slowly you lift your rifle to your shoulder and take aim.

In a survival situation like this, what animal do you imagine yourself hunting? Is it a deer? Are you fortunate enough to live in an area of elk or other large animal? How about small game animals? Not only are small game animals the most abundant, but they also typically require the least amount of skill to harvest. There’s just one problem with this plan: You’ll starve to death.

The big risk people would face in this situation is a misunderstanding of how their body works and the calories their new life would require in a survival situation. If you ever find yourself in a situation where your life depends on harvesting the bounty of nature, here are three animals you shouldn’t count on:

1. Rabbits

The truth is that if you ate nothing but rabbits in a survival situation you would die from what is called rabbit starvation. This phenomenon occurs when the human body eats only lean meats for an extended period of time. To function properly, you constantly need a variety of food sources to keep you going. Native people knew all about this. Here is a diary entry from renowned explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson scribed more than 100 years ago after living with Native people:

The groups that depend on the blubber animals are the most fortunate in the hunting way of life, for they never suffer from fat-hunger. This trouble is worst, so far as North America is concerned, among those forest Indians who depend at times on rabbits, the leanest animal in the North, and who develop the extreme fat-hunger known as rabbit-starvation. Rabbit eaters, if they have no fat from another source — beaver, moose, fish — will develop diarrhea in about a week, with headache, lassitude, a vague discomfort. If there are enough rabbits, the people eat till their stomachs are distended; but no matter how much they eat they feel unsatisfied. Some think a man will die sooner if he eats continually of fat-free meat than if he eats nothing, but this is a belief on which sufficient evidence for a decision has not been gathered in the north. Deaths from rabbit-starvation, or from the eating of other skinny meat, are rare; for everyone understands the principle, and any possible preventive steps are naturally taken.

2. Squirrel

In city parks and towns around the country, you will find a population of squirrels that, at times, seems to outnumber the people. The real problem with squirrels is that their caloric return is far too low to depend on as a major food source. One squirrel is estimated to provide around 540 calories. In a world where we spend increasingly more time manipulating a screen and sitting on our keesters, we still demand around 2,000 calories a day. Even with our modern luxuries, you’d need to consume around four squirrels a day just to calorically break even. No problem, right? Well, there is one problem. In a survival situation, you could expect your caloric demands to skyrocket. Even if your daily caloric demand only doubled to 4,000 calories per day, that would put you at needing a hefty eight squirrels a day to break even. I’m sure this wouldn’t be a problem on day one in many areas, but how about with a family of four needing 32 squirrels a day? How about on day 100 when you’ve already shot 800 squirrels? As you can tell, the math doesn’t add up, and squirrel is not something you should be depending on as your staple food source.

3. Panfish

The 3 WORST Animals To Depend On For Survival

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Trout and certain panfish find their way on the bottom of this list for the same reasons as squirrels. For example, a wild trout only provides 143 calories per fillet. Double that and you are at 286 calories per fish. Again, the amount of panfish or trout you’d have to catch in a day would be substantial if you were to try and live solely on their sustenance. Based on a 4,000-calorie diet, that would equate to around 14 fish per day to break even for one person. However, there would be an advantage of panfish over squirrels and rabbit. That advantage is that fishing is passive. In other words, you could cast a few lines each day and come back later to check your catch, with very little effort involved. Fishing doesn’t require nearly as many calories as hunting does; therefore, the calories of your panfish would go further and you may not burn 4,000 calories per day. If you were in a situation where you didn’t have to expend much energy, panfish could possibly be a reasonable food source for an extended period of time. However, you would still have to catch an awful lot of fish.

Final Thoughts

In reality, these animals all can play a minor role in a long-term survival diet, but they should not be viewed as long-term staple food sources. Keep in mind this analysis has considered diets solely composed of these animals. If you could find supplementary food items — from plants to other animals — you would decrease the negative effects. People who lived off the land for generations didn’t depend solely on these animals, and neither should we.

Do you agree? Disagree? What advice would you add? Share your tips in the section below:  

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  1. In a survival situation, the calories you get from one of those is better than nothing. You should also try to look for diversity in your food anyways. If im in a survical situation, im eating that rabbit. Along with with that meager fish filet…..

    • no, those calories are NOT better than nothiung, if it takes more calories to get the critters than you get back by eating them. Calories consumed gathering wood and water to cook them, dispose of the wastes, etc, ALL count. Only half of an animal’s live weight is edible meat.

      • I call bull $h!+ !!!!
        You’d starve yourself not eating what is present so you can save yourself for better meat?
        That is just ignorant. It’s called survival..and E is exactly correct…
        btw, trapping costs less calories than hunting…so the name of the game is “use your brain”..
        work smart, not hard…oy some people.

  2. Perhaps the title should be “worst 3 animals to eat for long-term survival”? Any of the options would work in a pinch, and would indeed be better than nothing.

    Indeed, given they’re widespread nature small game like rabbits and squirrel are better options than large game like deer. More plentiful, easier to catch, and the tools necessary to obtain them can be crafted in field.

    When I first opened the article I was expecting to find animals with higher than normal parasite loads….that kind of thing

  3. I have to disagree with the mention of panfish. Indeed they are small and can only provide so much caloric intake. However, a trotline or fish trap greatly mitigates the caloric expenditure in acquiring these food sources and can get you a pretty decent haul in fish. I would agree that angling in a survival situation is not ideal, but there are other (more efficient, but less fun) ways to fish.

  4. There are plenty of fatty animals. Try hunting wild pig, javalina, and opposum. I would avoid large game if I can’t preserve it.

  5. Ate squirrel “one” time. Will have to be starving, wearing a watch for a belt, to eat it again. As for the other two, in hard times I would think they would be a welcome addition to “whatever” was on the table at dinner.

    • lol..time piece belt buckle…nice concept..but you’re right..we don’t need meat for calories..that’s what pasta is for…meat is for other nutrients which are hard to get from veggies, etc…
      besides, meat…i mean what more does one need to say…

    • Squirrel have a sweat gland in their armpit. Once you skin them you can remove it easily. If it is cooked in a stew or with dumplings that affects the taste. Once properly cooked they have a nice flavor. Some people however just don’t like the taste and if you are one of them you probably had armpit stew and didn’t know it.

  6. everyone is always looking at small game for food. what about birds? you can go on a quick hike with a bb gun or pellet gun and shoot yourself 10-15birds easily. I’ve eaten crows before and they have large breast. a few birds and you can feed your family.

  7. Let’s not forget that there are plenty of plants that have oils, which are fats. If man can’t survive on these animals, how have vegetarians and vegans been surviving to old age for centuries.

  8. this has to be one of the most ignorant, irresponsible, thing on “survival” put out yet. first, its protein your after. second, you had better hope you git more than one to eat if not you will be happy for the one you got. and three, over the short term most for the readers have a stock pile of fats on them to last three to six months given a modest intake of protein and carbs. never turn down a meal, even a snack is a start. this so-called expert needs to get back to his armchair

  9. Well, almost a year since I last saw this article and have thinned down the squirrel population in my neck of the woods so that’s out. Have been treated to some tasty fish and there’s a duck in the freezer that’s begging to be smoked on the grill. All I can suggest is obtain a homestead and get in the frame of mind that you are willing to become a wild animal, if neccesary, to ensure your family’s survival. Above all, enjoy God’s grace as it is has been bestowed upon you. Today is a gift, that’s why it’s called “the present”.

  10. To live on small game we can not think like the westerner. We have to go for all that is edible in the animal. Clean and cook the organ meat, the brains (that are full of fat) roast, crack, scrape, and and suck on the bones for the rich marrow, then boil them down with what ever is left and drink the broth. Till all you have left of the game is hair, teeth, crumbling bone.

  11. TheSouthernNationalist

    Rabbits, squirrel, and fish go great in a stew.
    With this you can add potatos, turnips, or any other starchy root along with beans and vegetables from the garden and whatever else you want to throw in there.
    You’re not going to starve you will survive.

  12. I am not an expert but i would feel fine with a bush pot, fire steel, sharp knife, some hooks and paracord. With a water source you would het more everything from the animals because it wouldnt be dripping into a fire, plus drinking the broth. This guy isnt very smart. Besides who wouldn’t be doing more than one thing at a time?
    I would be fishing with trap, traps for birds rabbit and squirrel, looking for insects, amd edible greens/ roots.

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