Can You Eat Squirrel? [The Complete Guide]

So, you see some squirrels around your area, and you’re wondering – can you eat squirrel? For some, this may be appealing, and others appalling.

Well, we’ll cover whether you can eat squirrels, the dangers, legality, the hunting process, and recipes for squirrels all in this guide today.

Firstly, yes, you can eat squirrels safely with the right precautions. Squirrels can contain disease since you don’t know where they’ve been. You must eat squirrels during the correct time of the year and avoid eating certain parts of the squirrel.

Let’s dive in.

Yes, you can eat squirrel meat safely. You must cut out organs like the heart, brain, and livers – as those have the highest possibility of bearing disease.

Secondly, you must eat the squirrel during the winter months, as those are the safest times to eat it.

Squirrel meat can be delicious if prepared right and also provide you with a large amount of protein. They have more protein than beef. Additionally, you’ll gain vital vitamins like B6 and B12 and essential minerals too.

1.2 million American practice hunting squirrels, and that really says something.

Potential Dangers of Eating Squirrel

dangers of eating squirrel

Squirrels can contain disease that can be harmful to you.

Especially during the Summer months, squirrels are rampant with disease. This is because they deal with a lot more parasites and bugs during these months.

Although your cleaning and cooking process will probably remove any disease, it is best practice to hunt squirrel during the winter months.

To add, eating squirrels brains, hearts, and liver can get you sick.

Where Are Squirrels Safe to Eat?

There are many places you can find squirrels – in the forest, city, or in your backyard.

Depending on your hunting location, you could be taking on more risk than you need to.


Wild squirrels are often the fattest and most widely eaten. Eating wild squirrels can be more dangerous, and these squirrels are more prone to disease – so getting scratched or bitten by one can potentially transfer disease.

Overall, these squirrels are fun to hunt, and with the right cleaning and cooking process, you can get yourself a nice juicy squirrel.

By the way, have you wondered if you can you eat pine cones? If you have and don’t know, click here.


City squirrels are typically not as fat and can be tough to legally hunt. 

They also contain city toxins like roofing chemicals and dumpster pollutants. They often eat leftover and rotten food that contains plenty of germs and can get sprayed by poison.

I personally would not give it the trouble to hunt city squirrels.


These are typically safe to eat – but under the condition that you know your neighbors fairly well. If any of them hate squirrels and would spray them with poison – that poison can pass to you.

Neighborhood squirrels have less chance of chemicals and pollutants, but this still doesn’t make them as good as wild squirrels.

The Legality of Hunting Squirrel

Legally hunting squirrels is essential because the last thing you want is to be caught up with the police.

Firstly, you will need a licensed firearm that is legal in your area. Secondly, you must make a note of the endangered species in your area – in a lot of cases, gray squirrels are illegal to hunt.

Finally, you will need a permit to hunt (and trap in the case of California), and you will need to hunt during hunting season.

What Does Squirrel Meat Taste Like?

Squirrel meat is similar to rabbit meat, but it is nuttier and sweeter. 

Squirrels eat nuts which makes them sweeter than rabbits. You can cook them in many different ways as well to add flavor.

Have you ever wondered if you can eat spam raw? Click here to find out.

How to Hunt Squirrel

So, now that you know how to hunt squirrels, how do you hunt them effectively and legally? Well, that’s what we’re covering right now.

Find Nuts

Squirrels like to eat nuts – especially acorns made by oak trees. They’ll also eat Hickory nuts and black walnuts.

These are squirrel hotspots – but this doesn’t mean squirrels won’t eat other things like berries and seeds too. So, be sure to look for areas with plenty of squirrel food.

Be Slow & Patient

When you pick out your spot with food nearby, wait it out. Go by a tree and wait 10-20 minutes before moving. 

You can also sit longer if you want – the longer you sit, the higher chance of success you’ll have.

Have The Right Gear

Having a solid hunting gun and a pair of binoculars would improve your hunting game dramatically. Additionally, camo and a seat cushion could help with comfort and game.

  • 10x Magnification
  • Anti-reflective coatings
  • Rubber armor provides a secure, non-slip grip

How to Prepare a Squirrel to Eat

To clean a squirrel, you will need to wash the squirrel up and then skin and gut it. This video demonstrates it nicely:

What Part of The Squirrel Can You Eat?

You can eat the lean meat part of the squirrel. 

You want to avoid eating the heart, liver, or brain. These are most prone to prion disease. Additionally, the blood and spinal fluid are not something you’d enjoy.

You can contact a restaurant that specializes in squirrel meat for more details.

2 Squirrel Recipes

There are many different squirrel recipes, but in my opinion, these are the best.

Buttermilk Fried Squirrel

The ingredients you will need are:

  • Cleaned and skinned squirrels – 3 squirrels
  • Buttermilk
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 tablespoons of salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup of gravy

Here are the directions to make it:

  1. Dip the squirrels in buttermilk
  2. Mix the flour, salt, and black pepper in a bag
  3. Remove the squirrels from the buttermilk and put it into the bag
  4. Shake thoroughly and put it on a rack to sit for 10 minutes
  5. Heat half an inch of you favorite oil
  6. Fry the squirrel with the lid tightly on, for 10 min per side
  7. Add a side of gravy

Slow Cooker Squirrel and Veggies

The ingredients you will need are:

  • Slice one onion into pieces
  • Baby carrots, cups
  • Cut up four large potatoes into tiny pieces.
  • 1 substantial green bell pepper, diced
  • 4 chicken bouillon cubes, salt, and pepper as desired
  • 3 peeled, gutted, and diced squirrels with enough water to cover
  • flour, two tablespoon

Here are the directions to make it:

  1. Place all the ingredients except flour and the squirrel into the slow cooker
  2. Put the squirrel on top of the mixture
  3. Cover the mixture with water
  4. Put the slow cooker on high for 6 hours
  5. Put the flour in and cook another 2 hours

What Goes Well With Squirrel?

I’ve tried many things with squirrels, but I have a short list of my favorite side-dishes.

  1. Biscuits and gravy – best combination
  2. Green beans and mashed potatoes
  3. Baked potatoes and carrots – cannot go wrong with any type of meat


Can You Eat Squirrel Raw?

You should not eat a squirrel raw because, without a proper cooking process, bacteria and disease can still be there.

Are Squirrels Edible?

Yes, squirrels are edible as long as you properly clean and cook them.

Can You Eat Squirrel with a Nut Allergy?

Yes, you can eat squirrels with a nut allergy. Their digestive system will have digested the nuts already, and you will be gutting the squirrel regardless.

Can You Eat Squirrels in the Summer?

No, you should not eat squirrels in the summer because this is the time where most insects and parasites  come in contact with the squirrel.

Can You Eat Gray Squirrels?

Although gray squirrels are edible, you will need to check with your state and local laws since they are considered endangered.

Last Words

So, can you eat squirrels? Yes, you can eat squirrels as long as you take the proper precautions. Not only can you eat squirrels, but you’ll enjoy the hunting and cooking process as well.

It will nourish you with the necessary vitamins, proteins, and minerals, and you won’t regret eating it.

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