Are armadillos safe to eat?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question, “Are armadillos safe to eat?’. We will discuss the safest way to prepare armadillos along with the risks and benefits of eating them.

Are armadillos safe to eat?

Yes, armadillos are safe to eat, given that you clean and cook them properly. If you don’t clean and cook the meat properly, it is possible to get dangerous infections.

While eating armadillo flesh may seem strange to some, it is rather frequent in areas where armadillos are common and other protein sources are sparse.

What are the risks of eating armadillos?

Leprosy: People who consume armadillo meat have greater levels of antibodies to leprosy in their bloodstream, implying that there is a clear link between catching, handling, and eating armadillos and developing the disease.

M. leprae is a sensitive bacteria that likes colder temperatures, settling in human extremities, under fingernails and other places. Armadillos, with their low body temperature (89° F) for mammals, are at the ideal temperature.

Armadillo liver ceviche is raw meat and onion concoction popular in some locations could be particularly dangerous. The germs that cause leprosy have been found to reside in the liver and spleen.

Who else is at risk of leprosy from armadillos?

People who handle, eat armadillo meat and come into touch with leprosy patients who are not undergoing treatment are in danger of contracting the disease. Leprosy is also a problem for people who work in gardens or in the parks where armadillos are common.

Apart from humans, nine-banded armadillos are now the only known natural carriers of leprosy. Leprosy can be passed from armadillo to armadillo, it also does not usually cause symptoms. 

How to limit the risk of getting leprosy from armadillos?

  • If you handle armadillos, thoroughly wash your hands with water and soap.
  • Avoid cooking and eating armadillo meat, however, if you do, make sure it is well cooked. Hands and surfaces that have come into touch with raw meat should be washed with hot water and soap.
  • If you come in contact with an armadillo or a person who hasn’t been treated for leprosy, you should consult your doctor.

How to safely eat armadillos?

An armadillo should be skinned and dressed as fast as possible. Here’s how to clean and prepare armadillo meat.

  • The simplest method is to break the skin from the head all the way back down to the tail from the bottom, being cautious not to pierce the internal cavity. You’ll need a good knife for this.   
  • Remove all fatty tissue from underneath the front and rear legs.
  • Thoroughly wash the meat. 
  • Cut the meat into quarters after it has been thoroughly washed. 
  • In some countries, the armadillo is cooked split side down on the grill after being gutted. Then it’s eaten right out from the shell. The same procedure can be done near an open campfire to get rid of the odor.

Here you can find a few different methods to cook armadillo meat.

How to safely store armadillo meat?

If you are not going to eat the armadillo meat immediately, always refrigerate or freeze it. 

  • The meat will be fresher and tastier if you cook it as soon as possible. But if you don’t get around to cooking something, wrap it tightly and store it in the freezer for later. Then slowly defrost. 
  • Gently thaw the meat. The easiest technique to avoid harming the meat’s quality is to freeze it quickly and then gently defrost it. Plan ahead of time and move the armadillo meat from the freezer to your fridge.  Large portions of meat, such as can take several days to defrost in the refrigerator. 
  • You can also quickly defrost the frozen armadillo meat in a container of cold water. This doesn’t take long for little packages of meat, maybe an hour. Larger meat portions could take up to 2 hours to defrost.

What are the benefits of eating armadillos?

High in nutrients: The meat of an armadillo is high in protein and iron. It also contains many additional vitamins that are essential for maintaining good skin and vision. The meat of an armadillo is a good source of protein, zinc, and iron. It also has more vitamin B12 and vitamin A than beef or pork, which helps to preserve good skin and eyesight.

Easy to hunt: Because of their small size, they are also quite easy to hunt. This increases their availability. This means that armadillo meat is a great food source for survivalists and hunters. supplies a valuable protein source for those living in rural areas where domesticated animal rearing is either too expensive or impossible.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, I answered the question, “Are armadillos safe to eat?’. We also discussed the safest way to prepare armadillos along with the risks and benefits of eating them.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know.

References

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/article/Armadillos-leprosy-bacteria-amazon-brazil-nine-banded-animals

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.