What Australian Animals Can You Eat?
Australia is thriving with lots of different animals, but do you know which ones are safe to eat, and which ones aren't? With a plethora of choices out there, you might be surprised by all the different local animals you can chow down on. Let's take a look at some Australian animals that are safe to eat:
The kangaroo is an animal that Australia is famous for. They are typically found around large parks or at suburban bushlands across cities in Australia. The most famous and largest species of kangaroo is the Red Kangaroo, found across mainland Australia.
Australia has exported kangaroo meat from as early as 1959, but it was only legalised for human consumption in 1993. Kangaroo is consumed in over 55 countries worldwide. It's a great source of protein and is low in fat. Most supermarkets in Australia sell various kangaroo cuts - fillets, steaks, minced meat and sausages called 'Kanga Bangas'. Kangaroo meat is best cooked medium rare.
The emu is the largest bird native to Australia. Their running speed makes up their inability to fly, sprinting up to 50km/h (31mph). Emus like to roam around and feed on plants and insects.
Like kangaroos, emus are low in fat and high in protein. They are farmed for their meat, oil and leather. The American Heart Association lists emu meat as a healthy alternative to beef - but more gamey.
The crocodile is known as the largest reptile in the world. The most aggressive species of all crocodiles - the saltwater crocodile - is also called a 'salty' in Australia. It can grow up to 23 ft (7m) and weigh over 1,000kg (2,200 lbs).
Considering how huge it is, it's actually edible. It can eat you, but you can also eat it. Crocodile meat is sold in many places across Australia and other countries. It's even considered better than pork or chicken meat. It's skin is used for belts, handbags, wallets and many other accessories.
The shark is a common seafood in Japan and Australia, normally served as fish and chips (called 'flake), in soup, and other variations. They're often hunted for their fins that add texture to shark fin soup.
Are sharks edible? Yes and no - not all sharks are safe for human consumption. Dogfishes, catsharks, sand sharks, makos and smoothhounds are some shark varieties that are most commonly consumed.
When cooked and prepared properly, the meat can be eaten and enjoyed as well - but in moderation, as sharks are believed to contain the highest levels of mercury over all other fish species. In fact, Australia has laws preventing the distribution and trade of meat from large sharks.
Snakes are pretty common in Australia. In fact, the second deadliest snake in the world - the Eastern Brown Snake - lives and thrives in the Australian outback. For most people, snake meat is a delicacy and is something that's rarely eaten, but it is edible. However, not all snakes are edible, so we advise to do research before consuming one.
Snakes are a great source of lean protein, and most people say that snake meat tastes like chicken or fish. You can season and prepare snake meat the same way you'd prepare your chicken or fish. Some popular snake dishes are the Chinese snake soup, breaded snake strips, snake gourd with glass noodles, and stir-fried snake.
You may have probably seen photos of terrifying looking spiders around the Internet. Chances are, some of them are from Australia. The most dangerous of Australian spiders is the Sydney Funnel-web Spider, located in a radius of 160km from Sydney.
Much like snakes, spider experts say the Funnel-web spider - and spiders in general - are ingestible too. Eating a venomous one isn't even a worry, but getting bitten by a venomous spider is dangerous and needs medical attention. Deep fried spiders are a delicacy and are said to taste like crunchy fried prawns. Fried spiders are often paired with a cold glass of beer.
Crickets, cockroaches, ants - you name it, Australia has it, even served hot on the plate. Insect snacks are creeping onto menus at Australian boutique eateries. While it remains an oddity to the majority, it’s become popular these days. And it’s not just Australia that’s getting insects into the snack scene. Asia, Latin America and Africa have been eating insects as part of their diet. Australia's Aborigines have eaten bush tucker including ants, moths and larvae for thousands of years.
Edible insects contain high quality protein, vitamins and amino acids for humans. They can be eaten whole, or processed into burger patties, pasta and snacks. Some other edible insects include mealworms, buffalo worms, beetles, locusts and even bees.
There you have it! As it seems, Australians enjoy eating the more dangerous animals than the harmless ones. And we didn't even begin to discuss non native animals such as camels, rabbits, deer and feral pigs. What animals have you tried eating, and would you consider trying any of these animals out for dinner? You'd be surprised by how much you'll actually like them.