Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"They Actually Eat That:" Alligator.

Welcome to another delicious little installment of "They Actually Eat That." Here, we aim to prove that humans are so omnivorous that goats look at us the same way food critics do regulars at McDonald's. We are the absolute last species that other species should be copying or stealing the garbage of. Our ability to eat anything is only a small part of why species die around us, but it's a part nonetheless. (More species actually die from people conforming to 'standard' foods.) We're so omnivorous that it's sick, is the point.

Humans do one thing that absolutely no other species does: we eat apex predators. Apex predators, by definition, have nothing native to their ecosystem that eats them (keyword being "native," as we'll see later). It's what makes being a big predator good.

Then you add humans, and even apex predators are on the menu. Things get even nastier when that apex predator happens to be under threat already.

Enter alligator meat. It's classified as seafood, even though alligators are strictly freshwater reptiles. It is quite popular in southern states, particularly Louisiana and Florida. I can only assume that this is yet another good reason for gator farms to exist.

Gator meat is so popular, apparently, that there are a million websites and recipes for it. There are charts like the one below showing exactly how many parts of the gator can be eaten. There are almost as many ways to cook gator meat as there are for chicken. 

Disclaimer: We at "They Actually Eat That" do not advise you to go out into the Everglades and hunt a wild alligator. If you absolutely must have gator, please buy farmed gator. You don't know what the big guys in the wild have been eating; remember, concentrations of things like mercury are super-high in apex predators. Is it still kinda cool to be able to say that you've eaten alligator once? Sure.

Alligators also have the rare instance of being eaten in their natural habitat, albeit by an invasive predator. Florida is a hotbed of exotic pet smugglers. It happens to have an environment quite a lot like Southeast Asia, a place with giant pythons like Burms and retics. Snakes eat gators and gators eat snakes. Currently, the two mega-reptiles are in an arms race as to who will emerge victorious in the Florida Everglades; place your bets now and stay tuned.

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