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
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|
|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|
Flash QT WMV Script Alligator Designs (10:45)
Flash QT WMV Script Alligator Leather (8:58)
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- Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Alligator Management
Contact Us About Seafood Products
Division of Marketing and Development
Bureau of Seafood and Aquaculture Marketing
The Collins Building, Innovation Park
2051 East Dirac Drive
Tallahassee, Florida 32310
(850) 617-7281 Fax