WILD NATURE

Tastes Like Swamp Chicken?

It's the busiest time of year at Florida's gator processing plants, where the toothy reptiles make their first stop on a path from the swamp to a hamburger bun or a basket of nuggets. Roughly 6,000 alligators are killed each year in Florida during the 11-week public hunting season from August to November. Haven't tried alligator meat yet? By all accounts, it tastes just like chicken. Which made us think: What other unusual creatures prowl the marshes, swamps and prairies—what are the other other white meats?

Alligator Meat, Before ...

"It started out as a novelty but a lot of people really enjoy it," said Brian Wood, who owns All American Gator Products, a processing plant in Florida. "It tastes ... kinda like a fishy chicken or a scallop."

AP

... And After

The grill sizzles at Harry and the Natives Restaurant elsewhere in Florida, where manager Jeff Brown serves up to 30 gator burgers a day. The restaurant also serves gator hash for breakfast and spicy Buffalo gator bites. It's actually a real nice flavor and it's much leaner than almost any meat going, just about 2 percent fat," Brown said.

Iguana

Central Americans view the iguana as a cure-all for everything from colds to poor sexual performance. And South Florida has tens of thousands of the nonnative lizards, the offspring of pets turned loose to reproduce in the wild. Brian Wood, the owner of food processor All American Gator Products, has contracts with several towns and country clubs to capture them. He processes the lizards and sells the meat and hides, just like gator. "They call it the chicken of the tree. It's very tasty meat," he said.

Python

Pythons may not seem like they easiest food to eat. But according to exoticmeatmarket.com, the meat is very light and tender. Pythons are skinned, gutted, washed and immediately frozen before being sold to you. 

AP

Nutria

Don’t let the nutria’s bright-orange teeth and otherwise ugly looks fool you. The meat is reportedly lean and low in cholesterol. The large, semi-aquatic rodent is called a copyu outside of the United States, where it’s more popular as a food. 

Nevertheless, you can find it here in the US; nutria.com offers a few suggested recipes, such as crock-pot nutria with Brussels sprouts, carrots and potatoes, and a nutria jambalaya mixed with sausage. Delicious.

Wikipedia/J. Patrick Fischer

The $120,000 Bontebok

www.exoticmeatmarket.com sells a rare type of antelope called the Bontebok. According to the site, the animal's hair is soft and iridescent, while its body is a deep purple-red. Traditionally found only in protected areas of South Africa, the Web site raises its own meat here in the US, which might explain a price tag that might make you choke. The site offers a recession special—you can buy bontebok today for just $100,000. But how does it taste? Undoubtedly, just like chicken.

www.exoticmeats.com

Tastes Like Swamp Chicken?

It's the busiest time of year at Florida's gator processing plants, where the toothy reptiles make their first stop on a path from the swamp to a hamburger bun or a basket of nuggets. Roughly 6,000 alligators are killed each year in Florida during the 11-week public hunting season from August to November. Haven't tried alligator meat yet? By all accounts, it tastes just like chicken. Which made us think: What other unusual creatures prowl the marshes, swamps and prairies—what are the other other white meats?

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