Commissioner Adam H. Putnam

Florida Agriculture: 500 Years in the Making

Florida Seafood Products

Alligator Meat, Skins and Hides


The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is a species of great ecological importance. It’s also a source for nutritious meat and durable, high-quality leather. Thanks to strict conservation and management programs, Florida’s alligator population has exploded in recent decades. Consumers can support alligator conservation programs by buying genuine alligator products.

Alligators were removed from the endangered species list in 1987, and the number of wild alligators inhabiting Florida’s lakes, rivers, swamps, and marshes now tops 1 million. Marsh management programs help monitor the wild alligator population and reduce poaching. These highly effective programs are funded by sales of alligator products and licensing fees paid by alligator farmers, hunters, and trappers.

The American alligator is often referred to as a “keystone species” because it plays such an important role in its ecosystem. The alligator is an apex predator (an animal at the top of its food chain) and helps keep populations of prey species in check. During dry periods, alligator holes and alligator trails typically retain water and serve as refuges for turtles, birds, fish and other animals, helping them survive until the rains return. Large, mound-like alligator nests, made of mud and torn-up vegetation, serve as nesting spots for Florida red-bellied turtles. Over time, alligator nests decompose to create peat. Peat is very important because it stores carbon and provides habitat for specialized plants and animals.

Young alligators are dark colored and marked with bands of yellow for camouflage. The yellow bands fade as the alligator matures. Adult males range in length from 11 to 15 feet and can weigh more than 1,000 pounds. Adult females usually measure eight to 10 feet. Alligators can live 30 to 40 years in the wild, and longer in captivity.

Alligator farming helps take pressure off the wild alligator population while meeting demand for alligator products. Some alligator farms maintain adult breeding stock that produce all the eggs needed for the farming operation. Other farms rely on eggs collected from the wild under permit from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Whether produced on the farm or collected in the wild, the eggs are hatched in incubators. Hatchlings are raised on the farm in heated indoor pens. Under controlled environmental conditions, alligators grow quickly, reaching maturity in two years or less.

Alligator is a lean meat that is low in fat and cholesterol and high in protein. It is available in a variety of cuts, including tail meat fillets, ribs, nuggets, and wings. Tail meat, the choicest cut, is a mild-flavored white meat that has a texture similar to veal. Ribs, nuggets, and wings are darker meat with a stronger taste and a texture similar to pork shoulder. Alligator meat is versatile and can be used in just about any recipe as a substitute for chicken, pork, veal, or fish.

Alligator meat is usually purchased frozen, but it is also available fresh. Thaw frozen meat in the refrigerator and use promptly. Use a meat mallet to tenderize fillets and flatten the meat to your desired thickness. Alligator meat can be ground or finely chopped to make sausage, patties, or taco filling. Alligator’s mild flavor is easily enhanced with seasonings, sauces, and marinades.

Alligator leather is particularly durable and can last a lifetime with proper care. Because each alligator hide has a unique pattern of “tiles” (or scales), each item made from alligator leather is special, and this uniqueness is another reason that alligator leather products are highly regarded and much sought after.

More About Alligator

Product Suppliers

The grid below lists suppliers of alligator products. The legend in the right-hand column indicate whether the supplier offers: [M] alligator meat and meat products; [H] finished hides or raw and crusted skins; or [L] finished leather products or novelty items. Contact each supplier directly for information regarding days and hours of operation, products, tours or other services. If a supplier has its own web site, click on "Web" in the fourth column of the grid.

Florida Alligator Product Suppliers
Company Name City Phone Web Type
All American Gator Products Hallandale (954) 894-8003 Web M H L
Alligator Bob's Gourmet Alligator Thonotosassa (813) 986-3008 Web M
Alligator Leather Buy Kinnamon Lakeland (863) 858-6971 Web L
Alligator Management Lakeland (863) 640-7783   H
Alligator Trading Company, Inc. Dade City (352) 279-2676   H L
Boston's Gator Farm Lake Monroe (407) 322-9238   M H
Brooks Brothers Farm Christmas (407) 568-0134   M H
C&H Gators Pierson (386) 566-1317   M
Central Florida Trophy Hunts Cocoa (321) 632-8995 Web M H L
Chloe's Gator Processing Deland (386) 804-6758   M
Classic Alligator Products Palmetto (941) 722-2727 Web L
Cypress Creek Farms Stark (904) 964-3339   M H
Fagan's Alligator Products Dade City (352) 279-2676   M L
Gator Guides Tampa (813) 968-6154 Web H L
Gatorland, Inc. Orlando (800) 393-5297 Web H L
Gatorama Palmdale (863) 675-0623 Web M H L
Gators R Us Dade City (941) 232-3313   M
Giorgio's of Palm Beach Palm Beach (561) 655-2446   L
Glass Enterprises, Inc. Camilla, Georgia (229) 336-9325   M H L
Kent's Fur and Seafood Port St. Joe (850) 229-6682   M
Luxury Leather Clermont (407) 656-3723   H L
M&D Gator Products, Inc. Dade City (352) 583-2786   M
Parker Island Processing Lake Placid (863) 465-3161   M H L
Parlier Processing Clermont (407) 656-3723   M
Quality Seafood Lakeland (863) 858-6971 Web L
Sultan Fine Leathers Hollywood 1-877-978-5826 x 101 Web L
The Hide Out Homosassa Springs (727) 433-2258 Web L
Vaughan Gators, LLC Tallahassee (850) 545-7661 Web M H
M Alligator Meat, Meat Products   H Finished Hides, Raw and Crusted Skins  L Finished Leather Products, Novelty Items

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Division of Marketing and Development
Bureau of Seafood and Aquaculture Marketing
The Collins Building, Innovation Park
2051 East Dirac Drive
Tallahassee, Florida 32310

Martin May
(850) 617-7280
(850) 617-7281 Fax

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