Man eats squirrel brains, gets brain disorder and dies


Originally published at:


"[Kentucky Doctors Warn Against a Regional Dish: Squirrels’ Brains.]

Squirrel Eaters?



Nothing like a bucket of KFS and it’s 7 secret herbs and spices.



Somebody’s going to catch Kuru and it is not going to be me.





Mmmmm. Squirrel.
Data point - my folks are from rural KY. NO squirrel brains, no roadkill. Yeesh. Sounds like storytelling for the outsider. BTW, depending on NYT to distribute public health info to rural KY is a weak strategy.


Even the most creative death metal bands haven’t come up with this horrifying scenario.


Prions on the brain, nasty way to go, and probably why the squirrels were caught instead of healthy ones.


I lived in rural KY for awhile and I’m very glad nobody ever offered me squirrel brains.

Moonshine, yes.


Queue Mitch McConnell. jokes, starting … now …


You literally beat me to this by 2 minutes.


I have family in Nebraska who would shoot and eat squirrel when they couldn’t find any deer… Don’t think they ate the brains though. I got the impression it was mostly the novelty of it…

Once, my step-grandfather gave me the tails of two butchered squirrels (I was about 6)… They were all stiff and a bit like feather dusters. I kept them on a shelf in my room until one day my dog ate them. Memories.


Discussing this with a coworker, both from WV. Yeah, we’ve been there. I think we are OK. :thinking:

  1. It’s not a paper; it was a poster at a conference (different level of scrutiny).
  2. The authors managed to find five cases of CJD in six years, with only one case admitting to a history of skwirl-brainzz consumption. Despite the supposed popularity of skwirl brainzzz. This does not sound like a risk factor to me.
  3. People have been looking for evidence of spongeoform encephalopathy among the skwirls themselves for the last 20 years (since that wildly-speculative 1997 piece in the NYT), without finding any.

The 1997 report talked of investigating 11 cases, six of them fatal, but called for support on a paper that only mentioned five cases. Not reassuring.

UPDATE: The risk factors given for Case 4 in the present list were “Residence in UK, intake of dog food”.


Burgoo is pretty good. Although (AFAIK) I’ve only had it make from beef and pork. It’s very much a “whatever meat you have on hand” kinda thing. Uticah, IL has one such a festival every year, and the state park there is a super common place for people from the city and suburbs to come hike, picnic, fish, etc.




Kinda raises the question of how the BCE got into the squirrel in the first place - I suspect cannibalism


“do not eat squirrel brains” is a rule i can easily follow.