La Mode Pratique Series (004). Florida Keepsakes
Watercolor & Pencil on Paper 15” x 11.5”
Back scratcher & label
Reminiscent of the Victorian feather craze, alligator hides were coveted by the fashion industry starting in the early 20th century, and consequently, alligators were hunted to the point of endangerment. Thankfully, hunting the reptiles became illegal, and in 1987 the alligator was removed from the endangered species list.
Alligators are also raised on private farms and commercialized in every possible way. Their hides, the most lucrative product, are sold in large quantities to luxury fashion companies. Their meat, the second most valuable commodity, is purchased by select restaurants and specialty grocers. The leftovers, known as recycled alligators, specifically their heads, teeth, and feet, are destined to become Florida souvenirs, commonly found in the form of key chains and back scratchers available for purchase in many area pharmacies.