We lived in Providence, Kentucky a little coal mining town in the western side of the country. This neighbor was famous for doing and possessing exotic things. I recall being impressed by that little alligator chasing our hands as we moved them quickly along the edge of the old tub where he had been kept. I do not think he kept him quite long since he was growing extremely fast and was getting more difficult to handle.
The Florida alligator wasn’t protected at the time and you might find loads of stuffed ones at the souvenir shops around the nation. Dad had taken up commercial fishing while I was in the service and he was enjoying the fishing and hunting on Lake Istokpoga. One of the things he would search was alligator. You might bait hooks and hang them over the water for the alligators, but that wasn’t how we hunted. We would go out after dark in the ship with flashlights and 22 magnum rifles, drag the ship to the edge of the swampy coast line and then get out. We would wade through the swamp in sand and water up to our knees shining the light around searching for the manifestation of the alligator’s eyes.
The eyes would glow bright red, you had to be careful however, if the eyes where too high off the floor, then it may be a cow. When we spotted the alligator, then dad would take it between the eyes. My job when I was with him was to get the alligator from the tail and then drag it back to the ship. I couldn’t hang onto that tail, Dad finely finished him off with the pistol and we’d alligator tail the following day for dinner.
On one of these hunting trips I remember coming upon a small pool of muddy water which was filled with swarming alligators, there should have been hundreds inside. From that time on I was convinced that there would never be a lack of alligators. A couple of years after the state of Florida put a ban on hunting alligators and they began to greatly increase in numbers across the state.
Since the fishing and hunting rules became more rigorous, Dad moved from the lake and into town. It was a peat bog which was being dug and sold by the bag. Dad had one alligator he called Old Charlie. He had been blind from a hunter’s hook used in some time before.
In the 1980’s I took over the books and the peat farm and ran it from our house in Georgia with no more than 1 worker at anyone time, we just barely make ends meet. So we were always searching for some way to make it a profit. 1 thing that came up was that the possibly of producing an alligator farm. We already had a fantastic start, with the ponds and a couple of wild alligators on the property. We heard more about alligators in 3 days than we ever wanted to know. I visited a working alligator farm north of Avon Park and observed as they nourish them and walked around the breeding grounds which consisted of a series of ditches dug in”S” shapes to offer loads of nesting area.
Alligators are extremely tough to increase and there are a whole lot of risks involved. Alligator that you see served in restaurants are farm raised two no longer than the next year. After the growth rate slows and the feeding becomes too costly. The best portion of this alligator is the tail, cut into bets with a centre bone and four great segments of white meat. If you become dark meat at a restaurant, you’re eating the parts around the shoulders and thighs. The female alligator will adjust the height of the nest and coverings so the temperature is accurate. Alligator eggs can only survive in a very small temperature window, and the gender of the alligator is decided by only a few degrees one way or another. The egg will form a ring that will grow around the egg, if the egg has been turned over before this ring has completed a ring round the egg then the embryo will die.
When the eggs are ready to be moved, they need to be accumulated and moved to a secure place for hatching. The hatching and growing buildings include a long building, low to the ground and the rood could be lifted to feed and wash the concrete pools indoors. The construction will include four or five compartments for different size alligators. That begin at one end when they hatch and are transferred to deeper pools and with slightly more space as they grow. The ideal is to maintain them quite and dark as possible so that they will grow quickly rather than expend their fat going around. They’re feed and hosed down daily for no longer than two decades and then sent . Runts need to be weeded out when they’re found to not be growing. It is possible to feed a runt all you want but it won’t grow.
Well here are the findings about alligators we had been convinced that it wasn’t worth the risk and gave up on the perfect.