Yes, some rodents like nutria are edible though they may not be very popular.
People have been eating all types of creatures for centuries, some of which are rodents and popular in many cuisines.
What about nutria? What does nutria taste like? If you aren’t fond of rodents, you may be grimacing at the moment.
But that’s only natural, and it can happen to anyone.
Even if you may never want to taste it, there isn’t any harm in knowing how a particular creature taste.
So, carry on reading, and we will learn many more things in a short while.
What is Nutria?
Nutria is a large herbivorous, semi-aquatic rodent in the family of Echimyidae, which consist of spiny rats.
The rodents mostly live in burrows along water stretches and feed on stems of river plants.
However, they’re pretty destructive and become quite invasive.
The rodent is indigenous to temperate and subtropical South America, but you can also find it in Europe, North America, Africa, and Europe.
Fur ranchers probably introduced the rodent to the other regions.
Nutria looks like a big rat or a beaver, and it has a long smooth tail.
The rodent has three types of hair; the guard hairs on top, dark brown mid-layer hair, and soft and dense underfur, also known as nutria.
While people have farmed nutria primarily for fur, they also became part of the diet in many places, specially to support food shortages.
What Does Nutria Taste Like?
Nutria meat is edible, but because it’s a rodent, most people are still hesitant to consume it.
But people had made it part of their diet during many instances when there was a food shortage.
In modern times, you may not find it on restaurant menus everywhere, but it’s popular in some locations.
You can find nutria meat in sandwiches, dumplings, burgers, and hotdogs.
It’s also used in dog foods in some places.
Often called coypu and swamp rat, nutria meat tastes like a cross between turkey and pork.
However, it’s healthier than turkey and almost as exotic as alligator meat.
It’s also called ‘poor man’s meat’ as people eat it when there isn’t any food to consume.
Nutria meat is lean, and it’s rich in protein, low in carbohydrates, and has less amount of fat and cholesterol than turkey, chicken, and other meat.
A 100g nutria meat has 22.1g protein, 0 carbs, 1.5g fat, and 40.1 cholesterol.
While nutria is considered a game animal, it supposedly doesn’t have any game taste.
Louisiana is one of the few states promoting nutria meat for consumption in America.
Hence, if you’re curious to taste it, you could take a trip there.
Its consumption is common in South America and also increasing in China, Europe, and Russia.
It may become quite popular in the near future when more people get a taste of nutria meat.
Is it Illegal to Eat Nutria?
When fur ranchers introduced nutria to many areas worldwide, they might not have imagined the havoc the rat-like rodents would create.
Over time, the creatures multiplied and started becoming invasive; there was only one thing to do; turn them into food.
People in several places have therefore begun to trap and catch the rodent for food, and it’s a delicacy in many areas.
It’s legal to trap, hunt, buy, sell or eat nutria in most regions.
Some experts are also of the view that rearing and consuming rodents could be one solution for alleviating the world’s hunger and malnutrition problems.
It’s expected that the world population will only increase, and the demand for food will soar.
Hence, rodents can meet the food demand.
However, authorities in some places forbid the trapping, hunting, buying, and selling of nutria.
If you happen to take part in any activity involving nutria, you could be fined or even jailed.
Hence, if you’re new in a place and you’re interested in nutria hunting or buying its meat, first try to find out the laws and regulations of that place.
Else, you could get yourself into trouble.
In places where they allow hunting and eating the rodent, you can find eateries that include nutria on the menu.
There are plenty of ways to cook the meat, so you can try various dishes.
Nutria meat may not be a favorite, but it’s a delicacy for many others.
It can also become an item for consumption if a significant food crisis hits the world.
Hence, we must keep an open mind about it because there may come a time when we have to eat it.
For now, it’s exotic meat in some places and part of the diet for others.
If you’re a curious person who likes to try out unique food, you can visit a place where they sell delicacies in restaurants and similar places.