I had a dream a while ago, about me and Natalie Portman being the only two people left on the planet after some sort of global cataclysm. Everything was going well for the first part of the dream, and we were really getting to know each other very well... All of a sudden, she turns around and says how hungry she is, and that she has always wondered how rat tastes. Needless to say, I instantly decided to go about the business of rat hunting.

This turned out to be almost impossible, because even though I could find lots of rats, I was too grossed out to try catch them by hand. After a few failed attempts, I woke up in a cold sweat, and realized that I would never survive if something like this ever really happened. So I set about the business of learning this valuable survival skill.

What follows, is what I have learned thus far.

Part One: How to Catch a Rat
There are a few ways to go about catching a rat. The first and obvious thing to check, is that there are indeed rats in the area you wish to hunt them. This is usually quite easy as their smell and sounds are a dead give away. If there aren't any rats in your area, find an area that does have rats. Once you have found such an area, you can start thinking about which type of trap to use. I will just give a quick overview of the traps you can use in the wild.

1. Snare - This is a very simple trap to use as it is just a noose anchored to the ground and placed over an area where the rats can be expected to run. The noose should be small enough for the rats head, and at the right height to snare the rat around its neck. You will have to be careful with this type of trap as if the rat is snared for too long before you find it, it will more than likely chew through the snare and escape.
2. Deadfall - Event simpler than the snare, this trap is the classic kind used many times by Wile E. Coyote to catch the Roadrunner. It is basically just a flat stone (not a crate or box) which is propped up with a stick which is set to fall on and squash anything that goes under it and upsets the prop stick. You will need to employ some sort of bait to get the rat to go under the rock. There are many different types of traps you can use such as a bottle trap and twitcher trap, but I will save these for another node.

Part Two: How to Prepare a Rat
Assuming you have a knife, the best way to skin a rat is to cut horizontally across its back, about halfway up its body. You can then insert 2 fingers of each hand under the skin through the slit, and pull apart. The skin should come off fairly easily. You can then split the rat down the chest, and pull the guts out with your fingers. After you have done this, you can cut off any of the bits you really don't want to eat. And move on to cooking.

Part Three: How to Cook the Rat
The prepared rats can be skewered on a greenish stick and held over a fire for a few minutes. The main thing to be concerned with at this point is not burning them, so take special care, and rotate them a few times, constantly checking their cooked'ness. Depending on the size, they can take from three to ten minutes. And can be seasoned too taste. If you need to store some of the meat, you can also smoke them. This is a good way to save some of the meat for later use as it should last between 1 and 4 weeks depending on how long you smoked it for. Use hard, green wood, not resinous ones as this will ruin the meat. And make sure none of the carcasses are touching.

Hopefully this knowledge will help you score, and possibly save your life one day.



p.s. It might be a good idea to store a few rat traps with your emergency rations, just in case...

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