None of us relish the thought of being trapped out in the woods or on the plains without food, but as survivalists, we have to make ourselves aware of the options that exist to stave off starvation. You’ve come to this website for survival tips, and survival tips don’t come much more important or fundamental than this; the basic types of creatures and critters that you can eat to stay alive if you find yourself stranded.
We’re aware that not everybody is a natural hunter, and catching wild prey is beyond the capability of the majority of people. We’ll also assume that you’ve been stranded without a gun, or any other hunting equipment. Depending on who you were traveling with you could be alone, with other people or with a dog. Obviously you’re not going to eat another person, and maybe of us would rather starve than sacrifice a pet for food, so instead, we’ll focus on what can be found in the earth around you.
Not everything on this list is going to taste great; in fact, many of them definitely won’t, but they will keep you alive until rescue arrives.
We’ve tried to keep this list as conventional animal-friendly as we can do. There are three reasons for that. Firstly, as we’ve already covered, most people aren’t capable of capturing and killing a wild animal with their bare hands. Secondly, there’s no guarantee that there will be a plethora of suitable animals close to you in a survival situation. In order for it to be a survival situation, we’re assuming you wouldn’t be close to a farm or anything similar.
Thirdly, people struggle to kill cute animals. We’re fine buying meat from a butcher once it’s been cleaned or processed, but actually looking an animal in the eye and killing it is beyond most of us; especially cute, fluffy ones. When we look at an animal covered in fur, we immediately think of it the same way we think of the cute stuffed animals in the popular Fluffy Favourites series of online slots; something adorable that we just want to hug and take home as a pet to cuddle. The existence of Fluffy Favourites is a reminder that we find most animals to be lovable, even if they’re not in real life. There’s a smiling purple hippo in the slot which is one of the most valuable symbols on the reel; in reality, hippos are incredibly violent creatures which habitually attack humans!
Back to the opossums; they’re on the list because they’re almost everywhere in the wild, and they’re easy to catch. When they feel threatened, they play dead, and you can pick them up and humanely kill them quite easily. Once it’s dead, cut it into two-inch cubes, skewer it and cook it over a coal or wood fire for around 45 minutes, turning it regularly. A properly cooked opossum will taste a little like pulled pork, and will do you no harm.
Good news on the worm front; worms exist everywhere there’s damp earth, and all species of worm are edible. They’re considered a delicacy in New Zealand, and they make pies out of them in the Far East. It’s only the Western world that has an issue with them. The only problem you face with eating them is cleaning them first; you don’t want to also eat the dirt and mud you pulled them out of.
The ideal way to clean them would be to use water, but in a survival situation, you may be rationing that. Filling a container full of damp grass works just as well; pour worms into it and let them crawl around it for an hour or two. They’ll quickly shed any dirt that’s clinging to them. To find yourself some worms, turn over rocks or logs quickly, and you’ll probably find plenty. If that fails, bang on the ground with a club, hammer or anything heavy to hand, and that will bring them to the surface. Don’t eat worms raw if you can avoid it; they should be cooked, and frying is the best method. A cooked worm tastes slightly like beef jerky.
Bears in the wild will often rip into dead trees or rotting logs to find a supply of grubs, which they eat raw. We don’t recommend you eat grubs raw, and we hope there aren’t any bears nearby or you’ll be in serious trouble, but you can follow their method to locate grubs of your own. They’re an easy and nutritious survivalist’s meal.
Grubs aren’t really a species at all; they’re just juvenile insects that are between the stage of being an egg and becoming a fully formed adult insect. You’ll find both grubs and mealworms in rotting logs and dying trees, and you can eat either of them. They’re easy to prepare as a meal, too; just boil them. They both look and taste a little bit like shrimp, so if it helps, pretend that’s what you’re eating. Grubs contain fat, protein and potassium, and can keep you going for a long time if you can find enough of them.
You might think that a snake is the last thing you want to see in a survival situation, but it’s actually one of the first; you just have to attack and kill it before it tries to do the same to you. Pin it down, and cut off its head. Bury the head, so you don’t step on it; the head of a poisonous stake remains poisonous even after it’s dead.
If you’re not sure whether the snake you’ve killed is poisonous or not, cut off a length of eight inches behind the back of the head. That’s enough to avoid any venom glands if they’re there. Slice open the belly and pull out the contents, because you don’t want to eat what the snake’s been eating. When that’s done, remove the skin, wash the meat and start cooking. Don’t roast it if you can avoid it; snake meat dries out very quickly and becomes chewy. Instead, slow cook it into a stew or a soup.
If none of the above sounds appetizing, you could always try eating raw ants, which we’re told taste slightly lemony. Faced with a choice between ants and grubs, though, we’re doing with grubs every time.