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Alligator leather

Alligator leather belt
Alligator leather belt

Alligators normally avoid humans whenever possible. If they have become aggressive, it is because they have lost their shyness to humans. Which means do not feed them! And always stay away.

The leather is the product of alligator farms. Hunting and poaching the alligator in the wild is illegal.

Alligator leather is very durable and very expensive. It is elegant to look at, is richly colored and versatile for most fashion purposes. Basically, it was used just for men; wallets, boots, belts. The Europeans were creating handbags, shoes and many other accessories 'pour femme'. It's a good thing because there is always at least something for each of us and our tastes, don't you think so?

Stuff to Know

Animal:
Alligator. (Alligator mississippiensis is the American alligator, Alligator sinensis is the Chinese alligator)
Maximum size & weight:
19 feet 2 inches (5.8 meters)
Maximum age:
Oldest alligator (American alligator) recorded by Guiness World Recrods is 66 years.
Protected?
It is protected but farming is encouraged. In fact, buying alligator leather products will help the conservation of the alligator. A portion of the profits goes back to the government conservation program.
Where it lives in the wild?
It is found in the American Northeast and in China.
Where is it farmed?
Alligators are farmed mostly in Florida, USA.
Dangerous to humans?
Yes.
Afraid of humans?
Yes. Usually avoid humans.
People injured yearly
Yes, there are injuries. One thing is certain. The natural behavior of the alligator is to avoid humans. But when you start feeding them, they lose their shyness. Add that with poor eyesight, humans are mistaken as food.
People killed yearly by
Yes, there are. Usually from accidents or as mentioned, humans mistaken as food.
Is meat edible?
Yes.
Taste of meat
It taste like chicken. Well, the closest description that comes to mind.
Living habits:
They live in large shallow lakes, marshes, ponds, swamps, rivers, creeks and canals in fresh and brackish water areas. They lay eggs on average of 40-65 per setting. Incubation is 65 days. Alligators take care of their young and that's different from other reptiles like turtles. They are very protective! Do not tease a young alligator, there is always an adult nearby or you risk becoming injured or killed!
Eating habits:

The alligator's main diet are fish, birds, turtles, small mammals, and even snails! They eat dead fish and animals, too. They also eat almost anything so do not throw trash in the wild. There were found tin cans inside stomachs of dead alligators.

Farming style:
Alligator eggs are hatched in temperature controlled environment. Young alligators mostly eat insects, crustaceans, snails, and fish. Adult ones eat almost anything, even dead animals (carion). Florida State laws you are allowed to gather alligator eggs and hatch them, then you are required to release the hatchlings when they reach 4 feet or more. One interesting thing: temperature of incubation determines sex of the hatchlings. If eggs are hatched at 90 to 93 degrees Fahrenheit they turn out to be male, if eggs are hatched 82 to 86 degrees Fehrenheit end up being female.
Harversting weight and size:
Not less than 4 feet in length (121.92 cm) and not less than 11 lbs. (5 kg). Harvest is heavily regulated by the State of Florida. This was established in 1943.
Skin processing:

Alligator leather processing follows normal leather processing. The skin is salted. This is done when the animal meat is being processed and the skin removed from the animal.

Then it is soaked in water to remove dirt, blood, salt and other excess fats. The animal hide is fleshed; the flesh is removed from the surface of the hide. Usually this process is done by machines.

If there are hairs, they are removed. This is done by soaking the hide in a lime solution. This action loosens the hair from the skin. Then the hide is scudded; removing of the hairs by using a dull knife (this process is usually automated by machines).

When all hair has been removed, the lime should also be removed, too. It is called deliming; the hide goes into a vat of acid to remove all the lime. This is necessary so to prepare the hide for tanning.

Next is the tanning process and depending on animal hides and the required end-product, the tanning process differs. Vegetable or natural tanning will produce stiff but flexible leathers suited for luggages, furniture, leashes, belts and similar items. The compound used are usually organic and they contain tannin (Ah-ha! So that's where the term "leather tanning" came from). Tannin comes from bark, leaves, wood and fruit of chestnut, oakwood trees, hemlock trees.

Then there is mineral tanning which uses mineral compounds; chrome for example. The resulting skins will be soft and stretchier. These are used to produce purses, bags, briefcases, shoes, gloves, boots, jackets, pants, and sandals.

The next three steps varies for each animal hide: dyeing, rolling and finishing.

  • Dyeing not involves adding color. Ffor vegetable-tanned skins, moisturizing is required.
  • Rolling is the process of running the hide through a machine to make it stronger.
  • Finishing is the process of applying chemical compounds on the grain surface of the leather and brushing it. The grain surfaces is the outer surface or the upper surface that we see in finished products.
Leather durability:
It is very tough. Like crocodile leather
Leather softness:
Pliable.
Other Leather features:
Each alligator leather has unique texture and tile pattern. Belly leather is usually more flat than backbone leather. It is also more expensive, since it's easier to be damaged.
Leather relative value (1-10) in finished products.
10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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