What constitutes survival food? Let’s talk about snakes and how you can prepare it as an emergency food here.
Snakes as Survival Food and Ways to Prepare It
Identifying Venomous Snakes
In North America, there are four known species of venomous snakes: the rattlesnake, copperhead, cottonmouth, and coral snake. Each of these species has recognizable markings, habitat, and distinctive behavior. It’s also important to know that each of these snakes has a non-venomous look-alike that might be a little safe to catch (if you know how to tell the difference)
It’s incredibly important that you treat any and all snakes as though they were venomous. I can’t stress enough how important this is. The last thing you want is to end up with a snake bite in a survival situation … Check out this quick and easy method for trapping snakes that will keep you out of harm’s way. This works whether you want to catch them for food or just keep them out of your chicken coop.
Catching a Snake
If you’re a homesteader that keeps chickens or other farm fouls, you should have no issues finding snakes. In fact, they’ll come to you. However, if you have to go out and hunt them, it can get a little more tricky. On cool days and evenings, you can often find them sunning themselves on rocks or warm pavement. They’ll be a little slower on cold days, but don’t let that make you any less cautious when dealing with them.
During the heat of the day, they’ll often hide in grass, brush, or piles of leaves. To catch a snake, use a net or a stick with a Y in it to pin its head down. Do not approach the snake to make the kill until you’re sure the head is secured. Once the snake is secure, dispatch it as quickly as possible. Sever the spinal column quickly to avoid making the animal suffer. Make sure you bury the head to avoid a reactionary bite (yes, dead snakes can still bite and inject venom).
How to Cook a Snake
Once you’ve safely caught and killed your meal, it’s time to prepare it for cooking.
It’s important to remember that some of the foods we consider “extreme” or weird are common edibles and even delicacies in other countries. Things like ants, spiders, scorpions, rats, and yes, even snakes are as common to them as a hamburger is to us. Like I said, if you’re hungry enough, damn near anything becomes palatable. Still, it’s best to know how to catch, kill, and cook these strange survival foods before you need them to survive.
Once you’ve removed the head, you can now peel the skin off, slit it down the middle, and pull the guts out. Make a light cut to avoid rupturing the insides and tainting your meat. Rinse the meat well then cook it how you see fit. I’ve included a few recipes below to help make it a bit more palatable:
Snake Recipes – How to Turn Snake into Survival Food:
1. Skewered Snake
- 1 snake, cut into small portions
- Steak or barbecue sauce
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1 red onion, diced
Time for a Little Snake Satay:
- Put the snake meat, bell pepper, and red onion onto a skewer alternately.
- Apply the steak or barbecue sauce to the snake meat.
- Position your skewers over your campfire.
- Cook for about 20 minutes while rotating the skewers halfway every 3 to 5 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy.
2. Barbecued Snake
- 1 snake, cut into steaks about 2 to 3 inches
- 1/2 cup barbecue or teriyaki sauce
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
How to Get That Char-Grilled Goodness:
- Mix the barbecue or teriyaki sauce with the 1/2 cup honey and 1 tbsp ground ginger.
- Pour the mixture into a large Ziplock bag, then add the snake meat.
- Marinate it for about 2 to 3 hours.
- Grill the meat until it’s cooked.
3. Poached Snake Steak
- 1 kg of snake steak
- 5 pcs. of shallots, sliced
- 1 tbsp turmeric powder
- 5 cloves of garlic, ground
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 2 tbsp white rice wine
- 10 stems lemon grass, peeled while tender parts are finely chopped and pounded
- 2 tbsp peanut oil
- 2 quarts spring water
How to Get the Perfect Poach:
- Boil the snake steaks, then poach it with the lemongrass peel and chopped and pounded lemon stems.
- Add the shallots, ground ginger, and ground garlic in a one-quart pot of water.
- Once the meat is soft, take out the snake steaks and let it cool.
- Saute shallots on low heat until it gets light brown.
- Add the spices such as ginger, garlic, paprika, peanut oil, and turmeric powder.
- Turn up the heat until you smell the toasted aroma from your cooking pot.
- Add the snake meat, rice wine, and the remaining spring water.
- Reduce heat, and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
- You can pair this with hot steamed rice.
Looking for more recipes for survival food? Check out these “Desert Delights” from Junkyard Fox:
So, the next time you’re stuck in the wild with a short emergency food supply, you’re ready to prey on snakes for survival food. Knowing how to catch and prepare snake is basically food insurance in the wild!
Have you tried eating a snake before? Share your survival stories in the comments section below!
Up Next: Survive Snake Bites with This Helpful Infographic
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on July 27, 2017, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.
An eight foot python tastes really good after four days in the jungle without food. They are plentiful in certain parts of the world and pretty easy to catch. They are pure muscle and will fight, so don’t let your hunger overcome your common sense or you might wind up being the meal.
We split the meat lengthwise into six-inch “steaks” instead of just cutting it into chunks. Skewered it on a small bamboo shoot and cooked it over an open fire. Of course, the python was about four inches in girth which is larger than a snake in America, unless you are in Florida.
I notice you cut up the snake with the skin on, which adds nothing to the taste & can be tough to chew depending on how you cook it. I pan fry it with wild garlic/onions & mushrooms. I prefer to behead the snake, gut it & the peel the skin whole – it just pulls off. You can the scrap the hide, dry it and use it for a belt, hat band, make a n]mall bag out of it or even a wallet. Peter D
I have a copy of my grand-uncle Brother’s rattlesnake stew recipe. A dear friend of hours, a Special Forces general, now dead, told us about the time he and his daughter were at the Mountain Man rendezvous, and he entered the tent to find his daughter reading. She looked up and asked, “Are snake edible?”
“Yes,” he said, “why?”
“I just killed one inside the tent.”
A six-foot rattlesnake made enough food to share with friends, and Carl loved to tell the story.
Smoked Diamond-back rattler is delicious!
I really enjoy fried rattler with some good snake gravy! Yum!
Here in Oklahoma we have events called rattlesnake hunts. It only takes a hunting license for experience with catching and cooking. There are lots of tutors we don’t want people getting hurt.
Unless your are starving it isn’t worth the effort, too many bones for the small amount of meat.
I braised turkey necks last night….They are mostly bones but there was plenty of meat on them and easy to eat because the braised meat was loose and falling off…..I never eat snake…..Is eating snake comparable to boney turkey necks?
I would have liked more info on how to find and catch snakes, vs basic recipes you can use with any meat.
Come to Texas. They are all over the place.