There are a lot of things our forefathers ate out of necessity.  Squirrel meat used to be very popular. Hunting squirrel is a popular sport.  It is a great introduction to skills needed to go after other games, like deer.

Here in Texas, with the exception of the panhandle and far west Texas, squirrel hunting is legal.  Squirrel hunting season is underway now in Tom Green County. It goes from September 1, 2022, through August 31, 2023.

All persons hunting squirrels in Texas must hold a valid Texas hunting license.

Squirrel meat is lean and sweet. It is full of proteins and vitamins.  It is actually on the menu at a lot of restaurants in the United States. Just 313 grams of squirrel meat has 96.3 grams of protein.

Photo by Good Free Photos on Unsplash
Photo by Good Free Photos on Unsplash

For the most part, squirrel meat is safe, although there are some things to watch out for.  Eating squirrels from your backyard can be dangerous. First of all, it is illegal to hunt in the city limits. Second, some people think squirrels are a nuisance and you can never be sure if the squirrels in your backyard have been intentionally poisoned, or came into contact with poisons intended for other pests.

There can also be chemical residues left behind in squirrel meat from herbicides and other yard chemicals.

In addition, squirrels are considered unsafe to eat during the summer due to mites and other parasites.

Then, there are squirrel brains.  Many people love to eat squirrel brains and scrambled eggs. In some rural areas, a squirrel's entire head is presented for cooking. The hair from the top of the squirrel is removed then the whole head is fried. Once served the skull is cracked open and the brains are sucked out.

I admit I have family who considers squirrel brains and scrambled eggs a delicacy.

Unfortunately, eating squirrel brains can be fatal.

There have been a number of human cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease which is a form of Spongiform Encephalopathies or mad cow disease, which have been reported in humans linked to eating squirrel brains.  This rare, degenerative, fatal brain disorder has not been reported in Texas.

But, why take chances?  People who contract this disease die within a year. They literally get holes in their brain. Symptoms include loss of memory, coordination, vision, and dementia.

I can't imagine that squirrel brains are such a delicacy that they are worth the risk of dying.  Aside, from the brains, properly prepared and sourced, squirrel meat is good and relatively healthy.

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