Wild Fact #147 – An Illegal Delicacy – Cane Rat

Illegal Selling of the Cane Rat

Photo by Jacek555 (Wikimedia)

Did You Know?

  • The Cane Rat is a large rodent found throughout parts of Africa, south of the Sahara Desert
  • Although this rodent is considered a delicacy in Africa, butcher shops in London, England have been getting in trouble for selling Cane Rat meat
  • Cane Rats get their name for their love of sugar cane  and as such are often considered to be a pest of many cane plantations in Africa

Weight Lifting Champion of the Rodent World

Normally when we think of rodents, we either think of those cute, cuddly mice or the gigantic, man-eating (or woman-eating) sewer rats in New York. Well, the Cane Rat is neither of these as they are relatively harmless but quite large. In fact, they have been known to reach a weight of 10 kilograms (22 pounds) in the wild , which is pretty heavy when you consider that they are only 60 centimetres (1.9 feet) long. Just by looking at these numbers you can conclude that the Cane Rat is a heavy built rodent and as such quite strong (for a rodent…don’t worry, they won’t be winning world weight-lifting challenges any time soon).

Illegal Selling of the Cane Rat

Photo by Aurélia Zizo (Wikimedia)

The Illegal Cane Rat

As I mentioned above, the Cane Rat is known as a delicacy in Africa as they are high protein, low in fat and are apparently quite tender and tasty. Interestingly enough, farmers have actually started to raise Can Rat’s to sell as meat. Personally, I have a tough time picturing a farm filled with large rodents but it seems to work for them. However, it doesn’t work for the British and the BBC did an undercover sting on various butcher shops in London which discovered a few shops were selling the illegal Cane Rat meat (but oddly enough denied it when asked in front of the camera :)). Health and safety reasons aside, I would prefer these shops to be illegally selling an abundant “bushmeat” such as the Cane Rat instead of peddling endangered meat such as Gorilla and Chimpanzee. Although, chances are if they are illegally selling one type of meat, they probably wouldn’t be opposed to selling endangered animal meat.

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