One of my friends in the military reported about his friend eating a raw piece of chicken in order to save some time in the field. Let’s just say it didn’t go well 🙂 My friend had to share a tent with him for the next week.
It was messy.
But why can animals eat raw meat when humans can’t? Let’s take a closer look at the question because it’s not a simple question to ask. Let’s start with the short version.
Why can animals eat raw meat?
Wild animals will typically eat fresh meat and that is not as hard on the system as rotten meat. Other animals like Vultures can even eat rotten meat because they have a special set of acids and enzymes in their digestive system. They also have developed stronger immune systems in order to process the bacteria.
You might also get surprised to find out that sometimes the wild animals will actually get after eating bad meat.
Let’s look more closely at exactly what happens.
It’s a really interesting question!
5 Reasons Why Animals Can Eat Raw Meat
Let’s start by looking into why a lot of animals can get away with eating raw meat.
You have probably seen the predators on the Savannah eat a Zebra or a Gazelle and maybe you were thinking why in the world did they not get sick from eating the animal. There are some good answers to this question but it’s not as simple as you may think.
1) They eat the meat while it is fresh
The first reason the wild animals can get away with eating raw meat is that they tend to eat the prey just after they killed it.
This means that the flesh is still fresh and hasn’t started rotting yet.
This is not very different from you eating fresh tartar at a restaurant.
When humans eat meat we will typically go to the supermarket and buy a piece of meat that has been dead for a while. This also means that the piece of meat had time to pick up bacteria.
But even though humans can in many cases eat raw meat you will have a much harder time doing so than a lion or tiger.
2) Wild animals have more acid in the stomach
Over time, the stomachs of animals have evolved differently than human stomachs.
The big cats on the Savannah will eat fresh and raw meat constantly so they have developed a different set of enzymes in their stomach. They also have more and stronger acids in their digestion system which will kill more bacteria than your stomach.
Biologists have also found some animals to be resistant to several bacteria while other animals (eating the same diet) will get infected and ill. So it depends on the species and not all animals can get away with eating an infected piece of meat.
Actually, many animals will die from a young age because they got infected with parasites or bacteria.
3) They have stronger immune systems
Wild animals are exposed to other bacteria than humans. This also means that their immune systems have developed differently over time.
Each animal has its own unique immune system just like you and me. Not all wild animals can get away with eating raw meat. Lions might not be able to eat rotten meat to the extend Vultures do it.
But we’ll get back to that in a second.
Some biologists have suggested that dogs will eat grass in order to start vomiting whenever they eat something that’s bad for them. So they might have a built-in mechanism to get the bad meat out of their system again.
4) They have a better sense of smell
According to scientists, scavengers like rats use their sense of smell in order to judge what type of meat is good and what type of meat they should not eat.
This enables them to detect contamination and stay away from a bad meal.
Scavengers will typically use small to find the food and it might not come as a surprise that they have a much better smell than humans. The dead animal will let out an odor which will attract Vultures and other animals. So there’s a very good possibility that they are able to judge whether the meat is good for their system or if it has turned bad.
This is still something that needs to be researched more and it’s basically just a theory at this point.
5) They don’t have a choice
The last reason we could find is that animals don’t really have a choice.
They will eventually get sick from eating poisonous food and they are good hiding it.
Animals are exceptionally good at hiding their weaknesses and sicknesses. This is because nobody in the animal kingdom wants to be the next prey because they look weak.
This is also something you might have noticed with your pets.
Sometimes it’s really hard to find out when your pet is ill or suffering from a disease. They will typically not show weaknesses like humans. So whenever you are in doubt you should definitely take your pet to the veterinarian to get examined. It might have a problem you wouldn’t notice.
Can A Dog Eat Raw Meat?
Ever wondered if dogs get sick from eating raw meat? Let’s find out.
Many people will feed their dogs’ raw meat because they think this is closer and more similar to what dogs would eat in the wild. But this might not be a good idea.
When wild dogs eat meat they will typically eat an animal that has recently died where the flesh is still fresh. But you might not have access to fresh meat.
The meat you get from the supermarket can usually be infected with salmonella or listeria. This is just as harmful to your dog as it is to you.
This is why we are always heating up and cooking the meat from the supermarket before we eat it.
Should I feed my dog raw or cooked meat?
You probably shouldn’t.
According to the FDA, you should be very careful about giving your dog raw meat. If you keep raw meat in the house for your pets you should freeze it down until you are using it.
Don’t handle the raw meat in the kitchen around other food as bacteria can easily spread.
Avoid rinsing it as well as some drops of water that might spread and end up on the kitchen counter.
Can HUMANS Eat Rat Meat?
There are very good reasons why you should cook your meat before you set your teeth in it. In most cases.
Let’s start by looking at what types of meat you can eat raw and when you should cook your meat before eating it.
- Raw Steaks
Whenever you visit a restaurant serving these types of meals you need to make sure they have a high standard when it comes to hygiene. But as long as they treat the meat well you can definitely eat the raw meat in these meals.
A lot of people think that humans can’t or shouldn’t eat rare meat but this is not true.
Humans can easily eat rare meat as long as you make sure it’s fresh and good. But you need to trust that the restaurant really knows what they are doing.
The meat you should NOT eat raw
You shouldn’t eat rare chicken meat.
The reason why we never eat rare chicken is that there sometimes are salmonella in them. Chicken is a type of meat that easily gets poisoned so we always need to heat up chicken meat really well before we start eating it.
What is the risk of eating raw meat?
If you eat raw meat that is poisonous or maybe a piece of chicken with salmonella you will get really sick for a couple of days.
You should seek medical attention immediately.
Why can Animals Eat Rotten Meat?
Ever wondered why Vultures, Hyenas, and other scavengers can eat rotten meat and not die?
Let’s take a closer look at the scavengers of wild nature and why they do not get infected and die when they eat other dead animals.
Vultures will even let the dead animal be for a couple of days in order for it to rot. This is probably because the flesh is easier to access when the skin is starting to rot.
According to the Danish microbiology scientist Michael Roggenbuck from the University of Copenhagen, the Vultures have some very special skills when it comes to dealing with toxic bacteria.
“On one hand, vultures have developed an extremely tough digestive system, which simply acts to destroy the majority of the dangerous bacteria they ingest,”
Roggenbuck says. He continues:
“On the other hand, vultures also appear to have developed a tolerance toward some of the deadly bacteria — species that would kill other animals actively seem to flourish in the vulture lower intestine.”