What kind of critter is this?


April 29, 2003, 06:57 PM
Traveling north up to the Tennessee Valley, we saw several critters on the side of the road (live, not road kill). They are about the size of a swamp rat (nutria) but don't have the big long yellow teeth and their fur is a lighter, almost chestnut color. We did not see their tails but the notable absence of a nutria rat tail and beaver flat tail was obvious. Ears were little rounded things like rat ears not at all rabbit-like. More than anything they looked like big double sized guinea pigs.

These critters appeared to be grazing on the side of the road! What were they?:confused:

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April 29, 2003, 07:15 PM
Sounds like a Piecost to me...

Mal H
April 29, 2003, 07:25 PM
No! Stop! Don't ask! ;)

Actually I did see a Piecost pictured on a Grecian Urn at the Smithsonian. They've been around for a long time.

April 29, 2003, 08:08 PM
let me guess a piecost is much like a henway!?!?

April 29, 2003, 11:08 PM

April 29, 2003, 11:34 PM
You've witnessed the actual sighting of a groundhog, whistlepig, hedgehog whatever you wanna call 'em. They're loads of fun to shoot at long range!

April 30, 2003, 03:24 PM
Groundhogs, eh? Well sunovagun! :D They did look a might pale to be Nutria!

BTW, I hate to tell you yankees, but it looks like there were some 'dillos up there too, moving north. Didn't see any live ones, but these possum on a half shell were roasting on the centerline, slowly simmering to make a tasty treat for the vultures and crows.

There is an obscure prophecy that once 'dillos reach the New York state line the world as we know it will end.

Ol' Badger
May 1, 2003, 01:14 PM
Musk Rat most likely. My Grandpa made me eat some once. Nasty stuff, but he seemed to enjoy it.

May 1, 2003, 05:17 PM
Groundhog, most definetly, and they can climb trees, too. My old Golden gave one the impetus to do just that about a year ago. They were rare around here in East Tennessee as little as 20 years ago, but they have bounded back with a vengeance. In fact, practically ALL wildlife has came back with a vengeance in that time. Seems like the more it grows up around here, the more foxes, coons, groundhogs, deer, etc. I see. I sort of like it, as long as they stay out of my garden. Oh, speaking of G-pigs, did you know that if you hold up a G-pig by its tail, its eyes will fall out?

May 1, 2003, 05:35 PM
is that before you have run over it or after?yea an if you hide behind a white sheet,you can sneak up on them and scare them into having a stroke.

Dave McCracken
May 2, 2003, 05:43 AM
Groundhogs can be shot from long range, or taken at close range with a shorter range weapon. Good practice with archery tackle,handguns like the 357 or MLs.

22 LR is a little light for them,unless you're putting it right in the brain.22 mag works on body shots, but you want them to die before they make it back to their holes.

Don't hunt them before June, some of the biggest ones are females, but by June the kits can make it on their own.

BTW, they're delicious. Young ones can be fried like rabbits, older ones stewed or quartered, browned and simmered in tomato sauce. Either case, simmer until the meat comes off the bones, then remove the meat, debone and dice, add it back into the sauce/gravy.

May 2, 2003, 12:44 PM
the eternal question...

May 3, 2003, 09:42 AM
There is an obscure prophecy that once 'dillos reach the New York state line the world as we know it will end.

Never happen. Dillos dont like the cold.

Does that mean that TEOTAWKI will never happen ?

Dang it...all that ammo for nothing...

May 3, 2003, 01:01 PM
Never happen. Dillos dont like the cold. They don't have to travel under their own power. Could be a Texan truck driver carrying his box lunch for all I know. :neener:

Young ones can be fried like rabbits, older ones stewed or quartered, browned and simmered in tomato sauce. Either case, simmer until the meat comes off the bones, then remove the meat, debone and dice, add it back into the sauce/gravy.

This first step of browning sounds like it would be a good start for a roux if one put in some bacon fat. The tomato sauce (if chunky style) sounds a lot like Justin Wilson's starter for duck, crawfish and squirrel gumbo, then he puts in okra, spices, the roux, rice, et cetera.

What else do you put into your stew?

Dave McCracken
May 4, 2003, 02:50 PM
The tomato sauce for pasta would have oregano, garlic,basil, a hint of fresh rosemary, and maybe a teaspoon of wine for the aroma.

Stew, dredge the pieces in flour and brown in a bare non stick pan with just a little olive oil. Add a pat or two of butter after the browning to start the roux.

Use a bit of beef suet to brown some carrots, celery and onion,maybe a few leftover Portobellos, then add venison or beef stock. A touch of fresh ground ginger, a few caraway seeds and a bay leaf go in now. Cover and simmer,not boil for a good hour. Add diced potatos and simmer another 30 minutes, then add a little corn,peas, and a half tsp of Kitchen Bouquet. Another 15 minutes and you're ready...

May 4, 2003, 05:51 PM
BTW, they're delicious.

Reckon it depends on where you grow up, but round here I do not know one person that eats rodents...probably tastes great, especially the way you prepare it, then again pig anuses would probably taste great in your stew, but I would have to be perdy hungry to try it out! :scrutiny:

May 4, 2003, 06:16 PM
im with him,i dont think i could eat one either.especially the mangy ones ive shot.

Dave McCracken
May 5, 2003, 05:44 AM
To each his own, guys. Rabbits are rodents also.
Chucks eat grass, grain and fruit. The meat is a little like lean pork, a little like chicken, and delicious when cleanly killed and well prepared.

Sometime, ask me why I don't eat catfish or possum...

Art Eatman
May 5, 2003, 08:54 AM
Ah, Dave, the psychology of food!

I was on a passenger-freighter that put in to a lumber port on the east coast of Luzon, back in 1950. Filipino kids would dive into the harbor waters, catching jellyfish and climbing back onto a wharf-piling to sit and eat the jelly portion...

:), Art

May 5, 2003, 09:01 PM
Sometime, ask me why I don't eat catfish or possum...

I'm asking!

May 5, 2003, 11:44 PM
Rabbits are rodents also.

Hmmm, good point. OK, I don't eat rodents unless they hop and have long ears!

May 5, 2003, 11:55 PM
Dave - sounds as if you need to do a "Cooking Satori".

Well we don't do Groundhogs here ( that I know of). We do have a BIG annual BBQ Coon supper in Gillette though. Tickets are sold way in advance, politicians 'stump', prison rodeo bands...

Must be a demographics--word is years ago a fellow was selling a fancy fish croquoet (sp?) dish in NYC at $20.00...we called it Carp...one of those fish we throw back...ugly and full of bones.

Chuck Dye
May 6, 2003, 12:32 PM
Actually, rabbits, hares, and pikas are lagomorphs, Order Lagomorpha, and NOT rodents.

May 16, 2003, 11:37 PM
Groundhogs do indeed make tasty eating (don't tell my wife, she thinks they were pork or beef, depending on how I cooked them), especially when they've fattened up in early fall. I only take one occasionally, when they move in under a shed or woodpile and wear a path into the garden to feast on vegetables - they seem to enjoy the tomatoes as much as I do. I prefer to take head shots at close range: I lay down maybe ten yards downwind from the hole in late afternoon (the asparagus makes a perfect blind) and wait for piggie to stick his head out to look around. A subsonic .22 in the eye does it every time.

I've tanned a few skins for various uses - their toughness is second only to squirrel skin, and the fur (guard hairs and undercoat) comes in handy for tying a number of fly patterns - a very useful animal indeed.

They're protected on state land here in WI, and they seem to know it - I've run into several on the edges of woodlots, where they often climb a tree to about eye level to get a good look at me.

May 17, 2003, 09:08 PM
Dave, in defence of the American catfish industry, farm raised fish eat commercial fish food mostyly soybean and corn based.

Two other questions? Do you have to tenderize these critters or just simmer a long time? (I notice deer roast seems to do best if it is slow cooked or pressure cooked and deer is the only wild critter I usally cook.)

Does it taste enough like pork to where it might do well in a pineapple, clove and cherry sauce? Mrs. Meek dislikes this but I think pork does well with it and those who have tried alligator in it tell me it does just as well.

Ogive Meplat
May 18, 2003, 09:21 AM
I been reel gud on my diet...
'til I red this thred an now ah've
got a powerful hankerin' for some good eatin'!!
Now, where'ma gonna find roast young 'dillo in DC?

Yo! McCracken... Hows'bout a wild game cookin' forum?
Sounds like many of the members have some excellent recipes.

Dave McCracken
May 18, 2003, 09:53 AM
Gee, maybe I oughta write a cookbook....

Art, anyone who has been in South East Asia can tell you about Nuc Maum. It's a paste made from decomposed minnows. Some folks really like it.

And Gefilte Fish, the Jewish "Delicacy" is made from carp. Feh!!...

Re Catfish, too mnay eaten as a kid taken from dirty water. Catfish are very sensitive to their environment and mud tastes like mud. Farm catfish? Too many tasty kinds of fish out there, especially here in Chesapeake Country.

Possum is another dirty eater. I like a few more links in the food chain between me and roadkill.

Chuck skin is so tough Native Americans used it for bowstrings.

Meek, younger ones need no tenderizing, bigger ones do. All visible fat should be removed. Dunno about pineapples,etc. Try a Stroganoff recipe.

Art Eatman
May 18, 2003, 10:06 AM
Well, Dave, Koreans dearly love their kimchi, but the aroma was just a bit much for me...Probably a tossup with Nuoc Maum, from what I've heard.

Ever notice how many uncommon meats--possum, armadillo, rattlesnake, e.g.--are reported to "taste like chicken"?

:), Art

Dave McCracken
May 19, 2003, 05:40 AM
Kim Chee is a purgative when merely smelled during a hangover. I speak from experience.

Chicken, being the most popular white meat, provides a good reference. Myself,I think chicken tastes a little like pheasant and a little like muskrat.

Ogive, I doubt we'll open a game cooking forum. But, there's room here for a recipe or two.

Art Eatman
May 19, 2003, 08:13 AM
Just to explain about kimchi: It's a sauce, some of the ingredients being fish and cabbage. My understanding is that it's set to ferment through the winter alongside the fireplace or stove.

My outfit in Korea was about 40% KATUSA (Korean Attached To US Army). One of them returning from a three-day pass, we'd make him brush his teeth numerous times, shower, change his uniform and in summer make him sleep at least one night outside before letting him back into the squad tent.

That stuff would stink a dog off a gut-wagon! :barf:

:), Art

May 19, 2003, 03:40 PM

There's no fish in Kim Chee. It's just pickled cabbage along with hot peppers, red garlic, onions and a few herbs - not much different than sauerkraut, but with more of a "bite" to it. The bad smell is just the cabbage - sauerkraut ain't exactly roses either...
Come to think of it, Korean Red Garlic is a whole different thing than we think of as garlic. It's awful pungent and probably contributes to the "bouquet" as well.

It wouldn't surprise me to learn of some local variant where they add fish or something, but I've never run across any in several trips to Korea. There are two popular variants - Seoul style is (relatively) mild and Pusan style is hot, hot, hot!

They both taste better than they smell!


Art Eatman
May 19, 2003, 04:15 PM
Hokay. No fish. I never seriously checked out the recipe, but just relied on somebody's comment. And after almost 50 years, I won't swear I'm remembering perzackly what I was told. I just know I didn't want any then and don't want any now. :)


May 19, 2003, 05:13 PM
Pickled anything is an acquired taste. But, I'll bet I could slip you some on a hot dog and refer to it as Mexican Sauerkraut, and you'd smack your lips and ask for seconds - as long as you didn't get a whiff of it first...

I once had a Korean girlfriend and had to learn to eat Kim Chee in self-defense. I drew the line at that pickled minnow nonsense... she went home alone if that was on the menu.

Korean BBQ is the best stuff going. They can turn ribs into something called Bulgogi that'll knock your socks off it's so good!


Art Eatman
May 19, 2003, 08:55 PM
"Everybody to their own taste," the Old Maid said as she kissed the cow.

:D, Art

May 19, 2003, 10:13 PM
DANG! An I thought havin BBQ sauce an ketchup on the same plate was adventursome :eek:

meat an potato's man- so long as the meat was recently goin moo, oink, or I done killed it myself an deemed it edible :D

Chuck Dye
May 20, 2003, 02:01 PM
Keith and Art,

The fish sauce called nuc mam in Viet Nam, nam pla in Thailand, patis in the Philipines, and other names elsewhere is made by layering anchovies and salt in barrels or tanks, allowing it brew for a while, and then draining and bottling the liqour that results. There is a Korean equivalent, 'though the name escapes me, and it is a key ingredient in SOME kim chee. The making of kim chee is much like the making of barbeque sauce or chili (there are no beans in chili!) , full of regional and personal differences of opinion, family secret recipes, feuds, and friendly competitions. While I prefer my own homemade kim chee, I rarely make it. I buy Kings at the store, add a couple of teaspoons of nam pla and a couple of tablespoons of sri ra cha (the bright red Vietnamese chili sauce) and let the flavors swap around a few days before consuming it.

Bon apetit!

May 20, 2003, 11:57 PM
Kimchee and Soju!

I remember "The Soju Experience"

Kind of like surviving a BAD car wreck.

Ogive Meplat
July 7, 2003, 11:56 PM
Korean kimchi was any easy adjustment, having grown up on assorted chilies/jalapenos, kraut/slaw, sardines/anchovies, vienna sausages/SPAM, and skillet coffee/gravy. Living on the Red River also meant that I'd tried quite an assortment of home-grown fish and other aquatic critter recipes. Some were excellent, but some were simply nasty.

One of my favorite overseas delectables, while cooling my heels in the land of the morning calm, was a "candy" made from a mixture of the teeny-weeny little dried minnows, goju dust (hot sundried ground red pepper powder), salt, sugar, and a bit of oil. Girlfriend would make a couple of quarts of it at a time for me to carry to the field and to the DMZ. Ummm, better'n Brach's Red Hots!! ONE time she made me some pine-needle wine. That's where I drew the cultural flavor line on my tongue... it was like sucking on a jawbreaker made from aspirin!!!

July 8, 2003, 02:42 AM
DAMN, Huck!!!!!
I've been trying to remember that Latin phrase for years!!!!!:cool:

4v50 Gary
July 8, 2003, 06:38 PM
Sew, ennybuddy, does it taste like chicken or polk?

January 4, 2004, 02:52 PM
Fish sauce is just essential for good Thai food.

And basil. And coconut milk. And...


Browns Fan
January 5, 2004, 07:53 PM

You have taught us well, Obi-one Canobi (spelling?)! (edit: Obi-Wan Kenobi)

Browns Fan
January 5, 2004, 08:04 PM
Aww, common Art, kimchee is good for what ails you! It is an acquired taste, though, I'll give ya that.

Nothing like a bowl of kimchee with a plate of bulgogi!

January 5, 2004, 09:23 PM
Rodents are pretty much like any critter. They taste good if they're vegetarian and bad if they're not. There are some big ones in South America that are solely vegetarian, and they are really good eating.

Fish Sauce is better than it seems at first--and tastes better than it smells. But I can't figure out how to store it. If you put a bottle (even a TIGHTLY capped bottle) in the fridge, in one or two days everything in the fridge tastes like fish sauce...

January 7, 2004, 10:25 AM

Mike Irwin
January 8, 2004, 12:05 PM
That's OK, Meek, we're sending porcupines south to invade you Rebels.

Of the two, I'd MUCH rather have armadillos. They come in their own baking shell and they don't chew on tires and brakelines.

Mike Irwin
January 8, 2004, 12:07 PM
"Fish Sauce is better than it seems at first--and tastes better than it smells. But I can't figure out how to store it. If you put a bottle (even a TIGHTLY capped bottle) in the fridge, in one or two days everything in the fridge tastes like fish sauce..."

I was given a bottle of Squid Brand fish sauce some months ago. The first time I tried it I thought I was going to barf, but then I sprinkled some on rice, and it was pretty good.

Then I added it to some different dishes, and it's amazing how much flavor it will add.

January 8, 2004, 02:58 PM
Good grief, I guess I've lived a sheltered life! I've never even eaten squirrel. But some of this other stuff... fish sauce... paste made from rotting minnows... good grief.

I've eaten catfish and it tasted good, but it's full of toxins. I steer away from eating scavengers. I don't even eat pork, regularly. I do like pork, especially when I smoke a pork butt or ribs on the smoker, but I don't do it often. I'm generally a beef kind of guy. And chicken.

I remember back in the 70s (I think) on Saturday Night Live, they had commercials for "Fish Head Soup" and "Bass-O-Matic" "Bass Shakes". Haha...


January 8, 2004, 08:50 PM
That's OK, Meek, we're sending porcupines south to invade you Rebels. Can't you make light fishing corks out of porcupine quills? I dimly remember using quills back in the 50's with split shot as a sinker fishing for goggle eyes, bluegills and pumkinseeds. ;)

BTW, I saw a rerun of "Groundhog Day" and these roadside critters do look a lot like ground hogs after all.

January 11, 2004, 12:20 PM
Put a slightly opened box of baking soda in your fridge.

You never eat Worcestire sauce? :)

January 11, 2004, 07:55 PM
My girlfriend's Chinese mother has tasked me with the purchase of some chinese 'century eggs'. Two things:

1. I hope no hunting is involved. Seems to me 100 days in the ground could do bout anything to an egg.

2. I hope that this is not the beginning of a 'tasks for my daughter's English boyfriend' deal and task two is going to involve eating said eggs.

January 11, 2004, 09:50 PM
Put a slightly opened box of baking soda in your fridge.
Maybe the sauce I got was extra strong, but it would have taken NUCLEAR powered baking soda to tame this stuff.

Anybody want a bunch of fish sauce flavored baking soda? :D

January 12, 2004, 08:59 PM
:barf: :uhoh: :barf: :barf:

January 13, 2004, 02:56 PM
Agggghhhhh. This thread has brought back some nasty memories. A friend that had gone to Korea stopped by my house to drop off some beer he had brought back. I wasn't home at the time and my wife later told me there was some Korean beer in the fridge for me. Not knowing what was in the bottles was Soju, I opened one and took a large gulp thinking it was beer and just about puked. Thinking your going to get beer and instead getting a mouthful of white gas is not good.

I bought some fish sauce for a Thai recipe and made the mistake of tasting some. Bad move. The smell of that stuff reminds me of the stench that would arise from when we used to catch carp in the Milwaukee river and throw them in huge piles during the summer.:barf:

Mike Irwin
January 13, 2004, 04:50 PM
Yeah, when I first opened the bottle of fish sauce I thought it had gone bad, too.

Then I read just how much salt is in it, and there's no way in hell that it could ever go bad!

As for making fishing bobbers out of quills, they are hollow, so I suppose you could.

If you, or your dog, ever gets nailed by quills you should first cut the bottom off. Otherwise, when you grab them, you'll compress the air in them and make the quill swell and grab all that much harder.

January 15, 2004, 07:35 PM
Aren't century eggs the ones they soak in asphalt?

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