Alligator Pepper Shaker

This alligator pepper shaker was one of many alligator-themed souvenirs sold throughout Florida in the mid-20th century. Check out his alligator-skin briefcase!

Tampa Bay History Center Collection

No animal is more synonymous with Florida than the alligator. Shooting alligators from the decks of paddlewheel steamers was a primary pastime of the “sporting” tourist set visiting Florida in the 1800s. But as the 20th century dawned, tourists had less violent interactions with Florida’s signature reptile. George Reddington and Felix Fire established the Alligator Farm in 1893 which offered gator gazing, not shooting, to tourists. Today, gator hunting is strictly regulated and unarmed visitors to the Everglades board airboats to eagerly peer through the sawgrass to spot this fascinating creature.

Three Fast Florida Facts

  1. Real American alligators, not pepper shaker ones, can grow to lengths of 15 feet.
  2. Alligators Albert and Alberta are the official mascots of the University of Florida.
  3. The Florida Everglades is the only place on earth where crocodiles and alligators live together in the wild.