What Does Rat Taste Like? (And How Do You Cook It?) (2024)


If you’re wondering what rat meat tastes like, it’s important to dispel the misconceptions surrounding this common household animal. So, what does a rat taste like?

Despite its reputation, rat meat has a unique flavor similar to lamb or rabbit and can even be a substitute for ground beef.

Interestingly, rat meat can contain high levels of mercury from gold mining, but it’s still a viable option for meals.

Read on to learn more.

Before you scroll further down this guide, check out these other rat-related articles: Do Rats Have Bones? and How Long Can a Rat Live Without Food?.

What Is Rat Meat?


A rat is a small mammal often found in building basements and sewage systems. Rats are primarily active at night and use their long whiskers and keen sense of smell to search for food.

Despite their negative reputation, rats serve a critical ecological function, spreading seeds and encouraging plant growth. Without them, we would require more farmers.

Additionally, while it may be challenging, rat meat is nutritious and high in protein, similar to meat from small animals like rabbits or squirrels.

However, it’s important to note that rats can carry diseases such as leptospirosis, typhus, listeria, salmonella, and hantavirus, which can be transmitted to other animals like the deer mouse and can be deadly.

Is Rat Meat Toxic?


Rat meat is known to be low in calories but has a high mercury level. Mercury pollution is a significant problem caused by gold mining and affects the oceans.

Despite not being highly palatable, some people still enjoy eating rat meat due to its affordability and high protein content. For those who are curious, trying it is a nontoxic option.

Although rat meat provides a good source of nutrition, it is essential to note that rats carry various diseases.

Compared to rabbit or raccoon meat, the taste of rat meat is not as bad.

What Does Rat Meat Taste Like?


Like rabbits or raccoons, rats have a unique scent. Their flavor is less pronounced when roasted or barbecued, especially when combined with other meats. However, despite the distinct taste, rat meat is a healthy option.

However, before trying rat meat, remember a few things. Although it’s considered a delicacy, the flavor of rat meat still has a distinctive aroma when cooked.

It’s also relatively easy to find and cook and tastes delicious when barbecued. If you’re hesitant to try rat meat, you can still enjoy it in other ways.

If you want to be more adventurous, there are other ways to incorporate it into your diet. While it’s not recommended, if you ever run out of food, it is an option.

What Rats Can You Eat?


When consuming rats, it’s important to note that field rats are the most significant variety.

The most common type of rat found in North America is the field rat, which can be brown, grey, or black with a white stripe running down its back.

Field rats inhabit wild fields and are considered the most palatable. However, unlike rats that live in homes or sewers, their meat has a milder flavor.

Therefore, it’s crucial to thoroughly clean field rats, also known as brown or Norwegian rats, before cooking to prevent the spread of disease.

In Southeast Asia, the ricefield rat species is widespread, and its proximity to rice fields has earned it the nickname “ricefield rat.”

In addition, specific types of rats are considered delicacies in some regions of Asia and Europe.

Benefits Of Eating Rat Meat


While you may be aware of the health benefits of consuming meat, poultry, and fish, you might be skeptical about the idea of consuming rat meat due to the assumption that it can only make you ill.

Many rat species indeed carry diseases such as typhus or toxoplasmosis. However, some rat species found in rice fields are considered safe for consumption.

After reading the list of health benefits of rat meat below, think of this small rodent as a viable protein source.

Good for Asthma

There is a belief that consuming live newborn rats may have been used to treat asthma in ancient China when conventional medicine was prevalent.

However, as this practice continues in modern times, further research is urgently needed.

It is Delicious


In certain countries, rat meat is a common item on their menus.

Those who have tried it claim that rat meat tastes pleasant, which people often underestimate. Its flavor is comparable to chicken or other poultry meats.


The fast rate of rat reproduction is a significant factor that could make rat meat a viable solution in the fight against global hunger. In addition, rats’ rapid breeding can provide sufficient protein to feed those in need.

Combat Malnourishment


One of the proposals discussed in various conversations aimed at ending world hunger is the establishment of rat farms to provide sufficient protein and nutrients to combat malnutrition.

While the idea may not seem appealing, it could be a viable option during a crisis. Nevertheless, there may be better alternatives to consider.

Great Source of Protein

Rat meat is a good source of animal protein, one of the benefits of consuming red meat for your health.

However, while rat meat is a good source of protein, that is the only potential health benefit of eating it, provided you are willing to consume it.

How To Consume Rat Meat?


Rats are a regular food source, especially in underdeveloped countries. If you are open to trying new foods and want to cook rat meat, here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Never eat raw rat meat.
  • Cook the rat, for example, as fried. Rat meat tastes excellent with spices and herbs you usually enjoy in other dishes, like cinnamon, sage, or thyme.
  • If starting from scratch, add some salt to boiling water and cook the cleaned rat meat for about 20 minutes on high heat until it is tender enough to peal the skin.
  • Separate the legs, fur, tail, and head from the rat and wash it again
  • Put some oil in a wok and add the rats for deep frying.
  • Season it with salt, pepper, chili, garlic, and lime juice to create the dip, and enjoy!

Rat Meat Facts


Rat meat offers some health benefits, but it’s essential to know some interesting facts about these creatures first.

  • Despite the widespread belief that rats are small and cute, some types of rats in places like Papua New Guinea can weigh up to 3 pounds or 1.5 kilograms.
  • Cats are commonly considered a solution to control rat infestations in homes. However, there are more effective methods than this, and it’s best to contact a pest control agency for help.
  • Rat bait is expensive, like meat, cheese, and peanut butter. Rats eat almost anything, including cotton balls used as bait.
  • Rats can establish a home in even the cleanest public areas since they consume a wide range of foods, from bird seeds to pet food.
  • Rats can spread diseases in various ways beyond the consumption of rat meat. For example, rat bites can be contagious and contaminate their food. Fur and urine leakage can also pose significant health risks and cause damage to an area.

FAQs About Eating Rat Meat


What does rat poison taste like?

Rat poison is to have a bitter or unpleasant taste to prevent accidental ingestion, but the exact taste can vary depending on the specific type of poison.

Therefore, if you suspect that you or someone else has ingested rat poison, it is essential to seek immediate medical attention.

What does a rat taste like?

Rat meat tastes similar to chicken or rabbit, with a mild flavor that can enhance with spices and seasonings. Some people also describe it as slightly gamey or nutty.

However, it’s important to note that consuming rat meat may come with health risks due to potential contamination or disease, so eating rats is not recommended unless controlled and safe.

What does rat milk taste like?

It is not a standard or safe food source for human consumption. Additionally, rats are not typically bred or milked for their milk, as they are not domesticated.

Therefore, it is essential to prioritize safe and ethical food sources.

Consuming rat milk, especially from sewage rats, is not recommended by experts due to the high risk of transmitting diseases and parasites to humans.

Unlike cows, buffalos, or goats, rats can quickly transfer their illnesses to humans, making it unsafe to consume their milk.

Rats are known carriers of harmful germs and parasites, and their milk may become contaminated if they come in contact with untreated sewage.

They may also carry bacteria such as leptospirosis, which can damage the liver in humans and potentially degrade the milk.

Furthermore, rats host fleas, lice, and ticks, which can transmit Lyme disease and other diseases to humans. Therefore, avoiding consuming rat milk, especially from sewer rats, is best.

What does rat poop taste like?

Consuming rat feces can lead to the transmission of various diseases and should never be attempted. It is important to prioritize proper hygiene and sanitation practices to avoid exposure to rat droppings and potential health risks.

Should We Eat Rats?


Rat meat can be a nutritious protein source with a unique flavor comparable to lamb or rabbit.

While it’s essential to note that rats can carry diseases such as leptospirosis, typhus, listeria, salmonella, and hantavirus, some safe rat species exist to enjoy.

Rat meat is a low-calorie option that’s high in protein, making it an excellent alternative to beef. Despite the high mercury levels in some rats from gold mining, it’s still a viable meal option.

The flavor of rat meat is bold and comparable to that of rabbits and raccoons, but it’s milder when cooked and can be a delightful roasted treat.

Finally, while rat meat may not be a common food source in most regions, it could be a potential solution to addressing global hunger and malnutrition.

If you find this guide, “What Does Rat Taste Like,” informative and helpful, you can check out these other rat-related articles from our team:

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