Pop-Up Travel: Cane Rats in Ghana

Warning: This post contains graphic photos.

I have a lot of unfinished blogging business from 2014. I still haven’t shared everything from my most recent trip to Brazil, nor from my Zimbabwe trip before that nor my Ghana trip before that.

I hate to think about all the epic experiences and photos from these far-flung places that I haven’t shared on the blog yet. So I’ve decided to start a series of pop-up travel posts in which I’ll quickly share a photo or memory from a past trip.

Here’s my first pop-up travel post: Giant cane rats for sale on the side of the road in Ghana.

Mohammed rat

Mohammed Tahiru holds up two cane rats: one fresh and one smoked.

My friend Michelle and I saw quite a few people selling cane rats along the N1 highway between Ghana’s capital city of Accra and the town of Cape Coast. After passing the first couple of guys, standing on the shoulder of the road holding the rats up by their tails for every passing car, I finally worked up the courage to ask our driver to stop.

Mohammed (above) and his colleague were happy to allow me to take a few pictures in exchange for a polaroid portrait and a small fee. Mohammed is a friendly guy and we later connected on Facebook.

Mohammed and friend_edited-1

Mohammed and his colleague, whose name I forgot to ask.

These photos might be hard to look at for some of you. But before you scream curses at me and slam your laptop shut, I should tell you that cane rats, also called grasscutters, are a common source of meat throughout sub-Saharan Africa and are considered a delicacy by those who eat them. Cane rat meat has become so popular that the rats are even farmed in captivity now. (Read more on Wikipedia.)

Mohammeds sells his rats — either fresh or flattened and smoked — for 60 cedi, which is about R200 (or just under $20).

I didn’t try any. Just in case you were wondering.

Expect more pop-up travel posts over the next few months.

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  • Reply netanja January 23, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    love this idea of pop-up travel-memory blogs!

    • Reply 2summers January 23, 2015 at 3:30 pm

      Thanks Netanja. I’ve got so much stuff in the archives so I figure this is a good way not to waste it.

  • Reply Roxanne Reid January 23, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    I was reading avidly to hear what you thought of the taste – only to discover that you wimped out. oh well, I suppose they ‘taste like chicken’ anyway!

    • Reply 2summers January 23, 2015 at 2:40 pm

      Haha. Sorry to disappoint you. To be honest it didn’t even occur to me at the time. 🙂

  • Reply Steffen January 23, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    SUPER crazy – I wouldnt dare, so I dont blame you 🙂 Any tips on travelling in Ghana – Im off to Accra in Feb for a month!

    • Reply 2summers January 23, 2015 at 3:29 pm

      Cool, Steffen! What are you going for?

      I’ve written a few posts about Ghana — you can see them here: http://2summers.net/tag/ghana/. I wasn’t there for very long, but I definitely can recommend Cape Three Points (although it’s a bit of a mission to get there) and Cape Coast and surrounds (where the slave castles are). My friend and I did a really fun batik workshop in Cape Coast, coordinated by an organization called Global Mammas. There’s also some great shopping in Accra, which I’ve yet to write about. Stay tuned for some more Ghana pop-up posts about those things 🙂

  • Reply Justin January 23, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    I’m shocked!! OMG!!

    And we wonder how Ebola came around….

    • Reply 2summers January 23, 2015 at 10:10 pm

      Cane rats are just like any other animal that people hunt. And there is no ebola in Ghana.

  • Reply UnderAnAfricanSun January 24, 2015 at 9:37 am

    Interesting, my colleagues from Ghana had told me about this when they were here. They are quite expensive for a rat, I wonder how many people one feeds ?

    • Reply 2summers January 25, 2015 at 9:04 pm

      That’s a very good question. I also thought it seemed quite expensive.

  • Reply amelie88 January 26, 2015 at 6:57 am

    Oh wow, those are some intense pictures. I can’t say they look appetizing but wow, those rats are HUGE! And here I thought New York City subway rats were mutants! Do you know anybody who has tasted one? I’m not sure I’d have the stomach to taste a rat–even a nibble.

    • Reply 2summers January 26, 2015 at 12:46 pm

      Haha. I don’t know if i could either. But an American friend of mine who used to live in Ghana says she tried it and found the meat quite tasty 🙂

  • Reply Rebecca February 8, 2015 at 5:59 am

    Oh my lord – they’re ENORMOUS!!! Not going to hungry eating that 🙂

    • Reply 2summers February 8, 2015 at 5:17 pm

      Hahaha, true. They’re expensive though!

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