Cane Rats aka Grass Cutters - would you eat them?
Photo Credit - Omoragbo Grasscutter Farming
I first came across Cane Rats and 'Cane Rat Burgers' on my way back from a trip to Mozambique in 2001. It was early evening and at the road sides there were young men waving what could only be described as 'road kill on a stick' at us as we passed.
The Greater Cane Rat (Thryonomys swinderianus) is one of two species of Cane Rats. They live by reed banks and river beds and fully sized are nearly 2 ft (0.61m) long and weigh around 5-9kg. They are nocturnal and live in underground burrows or make nests out of grasses.
Male and female Grasscutters reach sexual maturity at 5 and 7 months respectively and are fully mature after 10-12 months. A Grasscutter colony is small and typically led by a male with 3-5 females as his entourage. The gestation period is 5 months which means that female Cane Rats can give birth twice a year.
As we humans moved into the Cane Rat's habitat they moved into ours - especially the sugar cane plantations from where they get their name and earnt them the label of agricultural pest.
Locals in Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon often eat Grasscutters and consider them to be a delicacy. They are higher in protein and lower in fat and cholesterol than conventional farm raised meat. Most of the Cane Rats eaten are caught in the wild, however a lot of small scale businessmen and farmers are now raising them for their meat.
So the question is - would you eat a Cane Rat Burger?
Photo Credit Nyani Quarmyne
Sources : -