Are you brave enough...

14 January, 2014

... to eat roadkill?

Note: this post (not surprisingly, given the first sentence) contains discussion of and pictures of dead animals. Do not read if this will cause offense. 

Or its close second; pathkill.

Let me explain.

Recently, while biking along the path that runs along the creek near where I live, I came across the above pictured dead rabbit. I frequently see live bunnies along the path, running for their lives when disturbed, with their fluffy white bunny tails bobbing along. They are cute, but I confess: more than once I've thought it would be great if I could catch a couple for dinner.

I am no stranger after all to killing an animal for the table.

But this time, no killing on my part was required. I came across this poor dead rabbit on the bike path. The first thought that came into my head was "poor rabbit". The second was "I wonder if its still good?".

So yes, I stopped, picked up the rabbit (good, no rigor mortis) and had a good look (good, no wriggly bits) and a good sniff (good, no smell) and then packed it up in one of my spare plastic bags, put it in my bike bag and took it home.

When I got it home I had another good look at it. It had a small wound on its side about half a centimeter wide. My best guess was that it was chased and briefly mauled by a dog, as many people walk dogs along that path and let them off the lead.

My next task was to figure out how to skin and gut it. For that I turned to the trust book 'Practical Self Sufficiency' by Dick and James Strawbridge. It contains, amongst lots of other very useful info, a very detailed description of how to gut, skin and butcher a rabbit.

It took me a little while to get the hang of it, but it was actually quite easy. Gutting it was a bit unpleasant, but taking off the skin was easy. The description of it being like "taking off its pyjamas" (I wish I could remember where I heard/read that) is really quite apt.

I then had a lovely clean rabbit carcass.

Looks just like the one's in the butchers.

Now here is where my courage failed me. I was besiged with doubts. What if it wasn't mauled by a dog, but bitten by a snake? A spider? Some other poisonous creature? What if it ate poison? Or was sitting there for hours developing some sort of smell-less bacterium which will kill me?

I'm sure most of my wonderings were just plain ridiculous. But I couldn't nay-say the fact that I didn't know exactly how the rabbit had died, and how long it was lying there.

So in the end, after all that, I piked. I didn't eat it.

But I figure at least I now know how to skin a rabbit.

Would you have been brave enough?


  1. I'd have piked too - I would have to be certain how it died. Well done for learning how to skin it though - you'll be ready for next time!

    1. Ah good, I'm not the only one. It was a good skill to learn, and I'm glad I did it even if I never get the chance with a fresh one.

  2. I think you were wise not to take the chance. I would have to see it killed and get it while still warm. It's another story if it's the only food you have, but you're not in that boat yet. Good that you learned to skin it. Next time I find a dead one here, I might do the same. I have John Seymour's self-sufficiency book. I think he tells you how.

    1. True, although I do think the result would have been different if it was my only protein source. I have the John Seymour garden self sufficiency book and i love it, the way he wrote was so down to earth! I'm kinda thinking id like to get the full version even though I doubt there will be anything that isn't in one of the many, many books I already have, just because I like his approach so much.

  3. Well done. Although a death certificate would have been helpful, 'died of natural causes' or 'just couldn't go on...'

    1. Yes! In a well regulated world roadkill would come with a certificate including cause and time of death, to assist with assessing the edibility of said roadkill. I like your thinking...

  4. I think I would be worried about council baiting! so lucky you didn't eat it! What about if you cooked and ate an animal that was killed by a snake- would the toxins be disabled by the heat!? thats an interesting question...

    1. Yes, it did cross my mind. I have no idea if poisonous venoms are disabled by heat but have no mind to put it to the test :)