Alligator cheeks are exactly what their name
implies: the slip of meat in the hollow of the cheek, underneath the animal's
eyes. Alligator cheek meat is a delicacy. Alligator cheek meat is so good on
its own If you can get your hands on some, pound-for-pound it's a much better
deal. Defrost the package, drain the liquids. Cook it with butter and herbs of
your choice at high heat until white. Cooks within 90 seconds. Do NOT overcook.
Sprinkle salt for Happiness.
Exotic Meat Market offers American Alligator Meat.
Alligator meat is the meat from alligators that is for human consumption. It
has been used both historically and in contemporary times in various cuisines
of the Southern United States. Alligator eggs are also for human consumption.
Alligator meat has been described as a healthy meat source for humans due to
its high protein and low fat composition. It has been mild flavored and firm in
texture. Alligator meat is lean, firm and almost pink in color. Alligator meat
is versatile and can be used in any recipe that calls for veal, seafood or
chicken. Its flavor easily adapts to seasonings, and the meat can be smoked,
fried, grilled or stir-fried. Alligator meat is considered cooked when it is
white all the way through. Alligator meat consists of 143 calories in a 3.5
ounce serving, 29 grams of protein, 3 percent fat and 65 milligrams of
cholesterol. It also contains a significant amount of phosphorus, potassium,
vitamin B12, niacin and monounsaturated fatty acids. Alligator Meat has been
described as a healthy meat source for humans due to its overall composition
and for being low in fat and high in protein.
Various methods of preparation and cooking exist,
including tenderization, marination, deep frying, stewing, roasting, smoking
and sautéing. Alligator meat is used in dishes such as gumbo, and is used in
traditional Louisiana Creole cuisine. Sausages are also prepared using the
Cuts from the animal used include meat from the
animal's tail and backbone, which have been described as "the choicest
cuts". In the mid-1800s, alligator meat was used in some regional cuisines
in parts of the Southern United States. During this time, it was used in dishes
such as gumbo. Alligator eggs were a part of the cuisine in many areas of the
Southern United States in the early 1900s. During this time people would
harvest the eggs and then sell them as a source of income.
In the United States, alligator hunting is legal
in Arkansas, South Carolina, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, and Texas.
Additionally, the meat can only be sourced from alligator farms.
An alligator is a crocodilian in the genus
Alligator of the family Alligatoridae. The two-living species are the American
alligator (A. mississippiensis) and the Chinese alligator (A. sinensis). In
addition, several extinct species of alligator are known from fossil remains.
Alligators first appeared during the Paleocene epoch about 37 million years
The name "alligator" is probably an
anglicized form of el lagarto, the Spanish term for "the lizard",
which early Spanish explorers and settlers in Florida called the alligator.
Later English spellings of the name included allagarta and alagarto.
An average adult American alligator's weight and
length is 700 lb. and 13.1 feet but they sometimes grow up to 14 feet long and
weigh over 1000 Lbs. The largest Alligator found in Louisiana, measured 19.2
feet. Adult alligators are black or dark olive-brown with white undersides,
while juveniles have strongly contrasting white or yellow marks which fade with
age. The oldest alligator living in captivity is 80 years in Serbian Zoo.
Alligators are native only to the United States
and China. American alligators are found in the southeast United States: all of
Florida and Louisiana, the southern parts of Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi,
coastal South and North Carolina, East Texas, the southeast corner of Oklahoma,
and the southern tip of Arkansas. According to the 2005 Scholastic Book of
World Records, Louisiana has the largest alligator population. Most of American
alligators inhabit Florida and Louisiana, with over a million alligators in
each state. Southern Florida is the only place where both alligators and
crocodiles live side by side.
American alligators live in freshwater
environments, such as ponds, marshes, wetlands, rivers, lakes, and swamps, as
well as in brackish environments. When they construct alligator holes in the
wetlands, they increase plant diversity and provide habitat for other animals
during droughts. They are, therefore, considered an important species for
maintaining ecological diversity in wetlands. Further west, in Louisiana, heavy
grazing by coypu and muskrat are causing severe damage to coastal wetlands.
Large alligators feed extensively on coypu, and provide a vital ecological
service by reducing coypu numbers.
The Chinese alligator currently is found only in
the Yangtze River valley and parts of adjacent provinces and is extremely
endangered, with only a few dozen believed to be left in the wild. Indeed, far
more Chinese alligators live in zoos around the world than can be found in the
wild. Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge in southern Louisiana has several in captivity
in an attempt to preserve the species. Miami Metro Zoo in Florida also has a
breeding pair of Chinese alligators.
Large male alligators are solitary territorial
animals. Smaller alligators can often be found in large numbers close to each
other. The largest of the species (both males and females) defend prime
territory; smaller alligators have a higher tolerance for other alligators
within a similar size class.
Alligators move on land by two forms of locomotion
referred to as "sprawl" and "high walk". The sprawl is a
forward movement with the belly making contact with the ground and is used to
transition to "high walk" or to slither over wet substrate into
water. The high walk is an up on four limbs forward motion used for overland
travel with the belly well up from the ground. Alligators have also been
observed to rise up and balance on their hind legs and semi step forward as
part of a forward or upward lunge. However, they cannot walk on their hind legs
for long distances.
Although the alligator has a heavy body and a slow
metabolism, it is capable of short bursts of speed, especially in very short
lunges. Alligators' main prey are smaller animals they can kill and eat with a
single bite. They may kill larger prey by grabbing it and dragging it into the
water to drown. Alligators consume food that cannot be eaten in one bite by
allowing it to rot, or by biting and then spinning or convulsing wildly until
bite-sized chunks are torn off. This is referred to as a "death
roll". Critical to the alligator's ability to initiate a death roll, the
tail must flex to a significant angle relative to its body. An alligator with
an immobilized tail cannot perform a death roll.
Most of the muscle in an alligator's jaw evolved
to bite and grip prey. The muscles that close the jaws are exceptionally
powerful, but the muscles for opening their jaws are comparatively weak. As a
result, an adult human can hold an alligator's jaws shut bare-handed. It is
common today to use several wraps of duct tape to prevent an adult alligator
from opening its jaws when being handled or transported.
Alligators are generally timid towards humans and
tend to walk or swim away if one approaches. This has led some people to the
practice of approaching alligators and their nests in a manner that may provoke
the animals into attacking. In Florida, feeding wild alligators at any time is
illegal. If fed, the alligators will eventually lose their fear of humans and
will learn to associate humans with food, thereby becoming both a greater danger
to people, and at greater risk from them.
The type of food eaten by alligators depends upon
their age and size. When young, alligators eat fish, insects, snails,
crustaceans, and worms. As they mature, progressively larger prey is taken,
including larger fish such as gar, turtles, and various mammals, particularly
coypu and muskrat, as well as birds, deer, and other reptiles. Their stomachs
also often contain gizzard stones. They will even consume carrion if they are
sufficiently hungry. In some cases, larger alligators are known to ambush dogs,
Florida panthers and black bears, making it the apex predator throughout its
distribution. In this role as a top predator, it may determine the abundance of
prey species, including turtles and coypu. As humans encroach into their
habitat, attacks are few but not unknown. Alligators, unlike the large
crocodiles, do not immediately regard a human upon encounter as prey, but may
still attack in self-defense if provoked.
Alligators generally mature at a length of 6 feet.
The mating season is in late spring. In April and May, alligators form
so-called "bellowing choruses". Large groups of animals bellow
together for a few minutes a few times a day, usually one to three hours after
sunrise. The bellows of male American alligators are accompanied by powerful
blasts of infrasound. Another form of male display is a loud head-slap.
Recently, on spring nights’ alligators were found to gather in large numbers
for group courtship, the so-called "alligator dances".
In summer, the female builds a nest of vegetation
where the decomposition of the vegetation provides the heat needed to incubate
the eggs. The sex of the offspring is determined by the temperature in the nest
and is fixed within seven to 21 days of the start of incubation. Incubation
temperatures of 86 °F (30 °C) or lower produce a clutch of females; those of 93
°F (34 °C) or higher produce entirely males. Nests constructed on leaves are
hotter than those constructed on wet marsh, so the former tend to produce males
and the latter, females. The baby alligator's egg tooth helps it get out of its
egg during hatching time. The natural sex ratio at hatching is five females to
one male. Females hatched from eggs incubated at 86 °F weigh significantly more
than males hatched from eggs incubated at 93 °F. The mother defends the nest
from predators and assists the hatchlings to water. She will provide protection
to the young for about a year if they remain in the area. The largest threat to
the young are adult alligators. Predation by adults on young can account for a
mortality rate of up to 50% in the first year. In the past, immediately
following the outlawing of alligator hunting, populations rebounded quickly due
to the suppressed number of adults preying upon juveniles, increasing survival
among the young alligators.
Alligators, much like birds, have been shown to
exhibit unidirectional movement of air through their lungs. Most other amniotes
are believed to exhibit bidirectional, or tidal breathing. For a tidal breathing
animal, such as a mammal, air flows into and out of the lungs through branching
bronchi which terminate in small dead-end chambers called alveoli. As the
alveoli represent dead-ends to flow, the inspired air must move back out the
same way it came in. In contrast, air in alligator lungs makes a circuit,
moving in only one direction through the parabronchi. The air first enters the
outer branch, moves through the parabronchi, and exits the lung through the
inner branch. Extensive vasculature around the parabronchi are where oxygen
exchange takes place.
They have muscular, flat tails that propel them
while swimming. The two kinds of white alligators are albino and leucistic.
These alligators are practically impossible to find in the wild. They could
survive only in captivity and are few. The Aquarium of the Americas in New
Orleans has leucistic alligators found in a Louisiana swamp in 1987.
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