What Survival Food Can You Find On the Trail? Animals – Part 1
We covered edible plants in another article. They are stationary and require very little energy to harvest. The next sources of survival food are more mobile. The higher up the food chain we go, the more difficult they will be to capture. Let’s start at the easy end of the food chain.
Bugs and insects are a good source of nutrition in an emergency. This group includes crickets, grasshoppers, locusts, earthworms and snails that you might consider for your next meal when you are in an emergency situation. Boil them or fry them to kill any parasites they might be carrying. You can find them around or under rotten logs, old tree stumps, under survival food leaves or in the ground. You may also want to remove their legs if they have sharp points to make swallowing a little easier. Avoid insects that sting or bite including bees, ticks, flies, and mosquitoes, insects that are hairy or brightly colored, caterpillars, spiders, or insects that have a pungent odor.
If you are around fresh water there are several more palatable food sources. Crayfish are readily caught under rocks. They swim backwards, so make sure you put your hand behind them. They are a delicacy in Louisiana. Boil them in water until they turn a bright red and then remove the tails from the heads and eat the meat from the tails. You can also suck the juices out of the heads.
When you are near the ocean, look in tidal pools around rocks and logs. Look for snails, limpets and shellfish. Look for colonies of mussels clinging to rocks. You can find shrimp, crab and lobsters in water less than 30 feet deep. Shrimp will often come to a light at night where you can scoop them up in a net. You can use bait to attract crab. We used to use a turkey wing in a ring net to catch crabs. Be careful of eating shellfish in more tropical zones during warmer months because of red tide. The old adage, avoid shellfish during months without ‘R’s should be followed.
Mollusks are another source of protein. If the shells are not tightly closed, or close when you touch them, do not eat them. Only eat fresh mollusks. Boil the mollusks in water until the shells open up and you can get the meat out of the shells. You can use an empty shell as a pair of pliers to remove the meat. Fresh water shrimp are another source of protein. Look for them in large mats of floating algae.
Frogs and salamanders are another source of food. There are a few frogs that are poisonous. Avoid brightly colored frogs, or frogs that have an ‘X’ mark on their backs. Frogs are usually found near the edge of water and will retreat to the water at any sign of danger. Salamanders are nocturnal, so using a flashlight at night is the best way to locate and catch them. Some toads secrete poison through their skin as a defensive mechanism. To be safe toads should not be eaten or touched.