How you like your eggs? — 26 Comments

    • Well, Louise, I was thinking of you the entire time and your natural curiosity about the ways of the Houma Indians and bayou people in general. I hope you found this little story both informative and entertaining! And, what a nice thing for you to say about my style!

  1. LOL…. I remembered this, I wish I could find a link to the entire episode espically the part with the eggs for you. I know its not nice to laugh at another’s malady but in the show he completely shucked his clothes when the fire ants covered his “Nether Regions”. I was laughing so hard my sides hurt. I guess I am just a sadist.

    If I am not mistaken the show was shot from a farm in Golden Meadow, La. I seem to remember also him helping “sex” the alligators, yes it was funny, but the fire ants portion was my favorite.

    They have removed the copies of his show since it was cancelled last year which is sad because it was a great show. Now you have to buy the bundled set of DVD’s.

    Really great article BW.

    • Oh yes, this is Gerald Savoie from Cut Off. We had a big discussion about him yesterday and this episode, as a matter of fact! It was one of my most favorite “Dirty Jobs” episodes, so thanks for sharing!

  2. This “Dirty Job” was a hoot to watch. Mike, the star, had to sex the gators, done by poking his finger in the nether regions of the animal.

    I think with all the other food found in the swamps perhaps fighting off a mad mama gator to get an egg for breakfast was just to much trouble, And I would like to shake the hand of the first guy to eat a raw oyster. Looks like a big pile of snot and feels like snot going down. Of course, think about where our milk and eggs come from……sorta gross….hahahaha Sorry I got off topic….

    • I would rather fight the Mamma gator than the red ants, there is physically no place to run. The muck sucks you in and there is no water to get ’em off……… Its miserable, or so I have heard.

      • The last time I got into fire ants it was in a cemetery. You would think those ants could show a little more respect, but nooooo. It was terrible. At least I just stepped in them, so they only got halfway to my knees.

  3. I remember that episode of Dirty Jobs too. It was hilarious!
    Now about the post. Very informative. Do you know if there is a limit on the number of eggs that each farmer can harvest each season? I find it a bit strange that eggs are harvested, but alligator farmers must release so many back to the wild. We have friends that USED to have a farm. I can’t imagine wanting to raise gators. I’ve seen their BOOKS of regulations. I would think those that harvest the eggs must follow the same rules (then some). Those barns with the high temps and 100 percent humidity STINK even though they’ re washed twice daily!
    My eldest son’s wrist was bitten by a gator a bit larger than Gucci while harvesting for our friends. Those razor sharp teeth left him needing quite a few stitches. I ramble, sorry.

    • Yes, I recall that gator tale of your son’s close encounter! As far as I know, every egg is taken, but possibly not all the nests are flagged, leaving some to hatch in the wild. That information wasn’t readily available, and I’ve gone three times to catch them coming in today without any luck. I’ll see if I can ask that question of my gator farming friends and find out. Well, before animal rights activists made it uncool to wear any kind of animal hide or fur, it was a very lucrative business. Not so much anymore. I continue to be surprised that the annual egg harvest continues based strictly on the economics involved in this day and age.

  4. This was completely fascinating. Nearly every detail of the process was brand new to me – it’s just one more example of how many “worlds” are spinning around in our big old world. I did find out that there are plenty of critters who eat alligator eggs, so I guess it would be just fine, apart from the complexities of getting to the nest, getting the eggs and getting away!

    You have answered one question for me. When I spotted the 24 baby alligators over at Anahuac, I wondered if those were all from one clutch, since they were all the same size. I guess so – those gators lay more eggs than I realized.

    I think it’s just amazing about having to keep the eggs right-side up.

    When you say the nests are spotted with “a little helicopter”, is that a remote controlled device like a drone? I know such things are being used more and more often.

    • I had a feeling this little piece would prompt you to more research! There are more facets to it that I couldn’t weave into the article in the time slot in which I had to write! Raccoons LOVE alligator eggs, and are probably the quickest creatures around as far as getting away from a gator. This is a small helicopter with a couple humans inside!! I tried to get a photo three times yesterday, but I couldn’t catch it at the right time. They are using two of them this week, and they sit on a flat-bed trailer on the back of a pickup truck. THAT is how small they are! The mamma gator makes a little pool of water beside the nest, and as they hatch they swim in the little pool and do so for about six months. And they might even stay close to that nest/territory for as long as two years. Amazing, isn’t it? They have an egg tooth on the top of their snouts with which they peck their way out of the egg, and if they have trouble, mamma gators have been seen helping them out. She even transports them gingerly with her big teeth when necessary. Of course, they can all climb on her back for a ride. The American Alligator is under-known (is that a new word I just created?) and under-appreciated!

  5. Husband use to go to alligator farms to pick up the gators. As you already know, I’m fascinated with these creatures. I went along for rides a couple of times to see the farms. STINK is an under-rated word for the smell of the place! We were invited to go out and gather eggs with them but he didn’t want to go. Darn. I missed my chance.

    Wonderful posting, as usual dear Cuz.

    • Yes, a missed opportunity. The airboats were buzzing by six this morning, and there must have been an entire fleet of them out there. I had to be away from the bayou all day so I couldn’t catch them coming in with the eggs to see how big the harvest is just in this area.

  6. Ah, the Dirty Jobs gator egg gathering episode. Loved it.

    Yep, I could sympathize with poor Mike, when he got into those fire ants. Or the fire ants got into him. Those things are NOT fun.

    It was interesting to watch them mark the nests from the air, like that.

    I wasn’t surprised at the way they mark alligator eggs ‘this end up.’ They do the same thing (and for the same reason) when they dig up turtle nests to relocate the eggs.

    • Oh, well, see? You knew more about this than the rest of us did. The egg-marked photo is from 2004, and I noticed that Gerald Savoie had advanced to using a Bingo marker, which seems to do a great job and is much easier to use than a marker. I guess that’s called progress!!! And I didn’t know that about turtle eggs, but it makes sense, doesn’t it?

      • Birds sit on their nests and turn their eggs constantly during the incubation process. That keeps the embryos from sticking to one side.

        The exceptions are the megopods, such as the Australian brush turkey, who incubate their eggs in mounds of leaf litter, very similiar to the way gators do. I imagine you’d have to mark their eggs, too, if there was some need to move them. (I can thank years of watching PBS and reading Nat’l Geo for all this trivia!)

        Generally, the locals leave turtle nests alone on the beaches. Sometimes, though, mum miscalculates and digs her nest too close to the high tide mark. To keep the embryos from drowning, the local turtle watch groups will move the nest.

  7. Some time over the weekend, this blog broke 1000 people who are now following by email notification. Yet, I notice that it’s the faithful few who take the time to share their thoughts, ideas, questions, and comments. No matter how big this blog might get, I will still count on and appreciate those of you who have been here since the baby steps. I sincerely appreciate you more than you know and hope you continue to find something worth reading here from time to time!! A big bayou thanks to the few, the committed, the faithful!!

  8. Off to Mississippi (for a few days) where I have no internet service, So, I’ll wish America a Happy Birthday and hope all of you a safe holiday!

  9. Great informative post BW! I enjoyed reading it although I already knew most of the information. I still wonder though if ALL the eggs are taken or a few are left for the mother gator to nurse. I would like to believe they leave some for her and faintly remember being told they do by someone from Golden Meadow area…

    • Typically, they do not leave any eggs, but it’s up to the agreement between the landowner and the farmer buying the eggs. If the landowner wants to leave some, then the egg harvesters must be trusted to leave some. It is not required by law, though, because returning the young gators makes up for the taking of the eggs, as already talked about. (It does seem cruel, though, if mamma gators have feelings like we do . . . .)

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