Saturday, 2 May 2009

Tapeworm Cyst - Multiceps Serialis

One of the two rabbits I shot tonight had a cyst on its shoulder about the size of the top joint of my thumb. My first response was: Arggh! Yuck! Throw it away!

Rather than do this, I Googled it.

First up, the AirgunBBS site where there's a discussion on the matter (here). This isn't terribly clear: it might be tapeworm, it might not; it might be O.K to eat it, it might kill you stone dead. Many shades of opinion.

I Googled a bit further and found this. Well, this is better: The cyst means that the rabbit is, indeed, carrying the larval stage of a tapeworm that can go on - if eaten raw - to reach maturity in the stomachs of dogs, coyotes and foxes. It doesn't grow in humans - and cooking kills it anyway. Bottom line: it's safe to cook and eat.

I cut the cyst off, chucked out the innards, stuck the rabbit in pressure-cooker, whacked the lid on and boiled the hell out of it for about an hour and a quarter. I was going - belt and braces, this, I know - to roast it after I'd boiled it, but seeing how it came out of the pot, though, I thought I wouldn't bother: I curried it and scoffed it.

Now, I am - by nature or nurture, whatever - a very squeamish person. Gutting rabbits? Every single time I do it I grit my teeth and wince with nauseated disgust. So seeing the cyst on the rabbit did indeed give me the willies and no mistake. But I know that I'm already the carrier of one bizarre, parasitic and debilitating organism: I carry the belief that food which hasn't come from a supermarket must, therefore, be worthy of profound suspicion: if it isn't from Tesco's it's bound to be deadly. I certainly share in this delusion and much of my hunting is a conscious attempt to refute this belief which I know - to some degree, anyway - I share. This nonsense lives and prospers within me and, seeing the cyst, it reared up and - for a while - took me over completely: What if I get sick? What if it's bad? Perhaps I'll die?

But no, bugger it: I'd sooner get a sodding tapeworm than be afraid to eat anything but Tesco ready-meals for the rest of my life.


  1. HH,

    You did the right thing. Look it up and then determine the proper course. Though pressure cooking, the gustatory equivalent of autoclaving surgical equipment, and then roasting might be a bit of overkill, if it makes you feel better then go for it!

    You might want to do a full preparation and recipe edition one of these days.

    Finest regards,
    The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles.
    The Range Reviews: Tactical.
    Proud Member of Outdoor Bloggers Summit.

  2. Hi Albert,
    Yeah, I know the, in effect, auto-claving was overkill, but I really am a nervous nellie. That being said, I've just eaten the cold curried rabbit on onion & poppy seed bagels for lunch and it was, flesh-eating parasite or not, pretty damn good. I'm no chef either, but I'm gearing up for an attempt on the Gordon Ramsey 'Fricasseed Rabbit and Tagliatelle' recipe later tonight. White wine's chilling in the fridge and the sun is out here in the West Mids. Fingers crossed.
    All the best to you,

  3. Try this one sometime, if you like. I posted it to Odd Todd's "Tuesday Lunch" time wasting website EONS ago, but it's my own innovation.

    Apple Chicken (Or Bunny or Dove or Quail or Duck)

    Ya take your meat animal and chop it up into legs and breasts and stuff.

    If you wanna be lazy just buy chicken breasts instead.

    Take a saucepan and fill it up about 3/4" deep with apple juice
    Dice up some mushrooms and peppers you like and sautee them. (I like serranos)

    Put in the bird or bunny parts and I like to add garlic and cayenne
    Cook on kinda med-high for a couple minutes on each side then
    put on medium-low and put the lid on.
    When the chicken is cooked (15 minutes or so) serve on rice or cous cous

    YUM.......Sweet and Sour and Spicy

    Sometimes before the meat goes in I dip it in a light breading mix of flour with jerk spices and quickly brown before it sees the sautee stuff.

    If you make it really spicy like I like people that come over won't steal your food cos they're afraid of it which helps when you don't have a job most of the time.

    editorial note:I'm semi self-unemployed and was when I wrote this.

  4. That reminds me of my cancer duck I got this year - huge growths around its gizzard. I tried to get some information on what it might be and couldn't find anything definitive. I didn't have the guts (no pun intended) to eat it. That's the only time I've tossed meat from something I hunted.

  5. If the cystic stage was present you could have examined the gut for the worm. Would have confirmed the cyst. Many causes of cyst. Not much survives autoclaving. Tried spam? Peace of mind with spam.

  6. cruel and heartless people that gloat over animals death. hope you die from eating too much.

  7. So what do you eat ? vegetables that have been covered in cow slurry ?