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Good Recipes for Reptiles: Alligator, Rattlesnake, and Dinosaur

Laughing happy reptiles.

Laughing happy reptiles.

Exotic Foods

Anthony Bourdain has hosted a series of gourmet travel shows on a variety of cable networks. He has eaten unusual foods around the world and with more style than some host that just eat gross things with a smug expression on their faces.

Chef Bourdain appreciates different cultures and their customs, no matter what they entail or leave out compared to other peoples and ethnic origins. One thing I have noticed, is that he does not prefer to butcher an animal that he has seen living. In one fascinating and entertaining show, Chef Bourdain was hosted through many regional foods that he had not previously eaten.

"Hey! Is that Bourdain?"

"Hey! Is that Bourdain?"

A camel was to be prepared for him to enjoy with the extended family of his host. She took him to a camel bazaar where they were to choose a young camel calf. He requested a "stunt camel" from the market, already butchered for cooking. And so it was.

I would also not eat a camel I had seen alive. Both rattlesnake and alligator are good tasting, but I prefer the lighter flavor of alligator. It is distinctive, but is reminiscent of a light pork sausage.

Kresge's sold snake in a can!

Kresge's sold snake in a can!

Kids love hot dogs and beans, so why not snake and beans?

In my youth, the S.S. Kresge variety store maintained a small International Food section that included canned meats.

The meats included the usual canned hams, corned beef, canned chicken, and tuna, but also canned rattlesnake in a long, oval, 1-inch high can. By the time I considered purchasing a can of it, the retail chain had closed down in our region.

Here's a recipe I could have used:

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Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

20 min

25 min

45 min

About 8 to 10 servings

Actually, the rattler is good tasting if prepared correctly and its venom is collected for anti-snake bite serum.

Actually, the rattler is good tasting if prepared correctly and its venom is collected for anti-snake bite serum.


  • 64 oz can of pork and beans [I like to use dark kidney beans, with the juice]
  • 30 - 36 oz can of stewed tomatoes, with onions and /or peppers if you like
  • 4 oz can of diced jalapeno peppers or pepper rings.
  • 1 large red onion, peeled, trimmed, and cut into quarters
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 pound of ground beef,partially browned and drained
  • 1/2 pound of rattlesnake meat (8 oz can or frozen from the market)


  1. In a large soup pot on the stove top over medium high heat, pour the beans, add the salt, red onion, and garlic. Stir and cook 10 minutes.
  2. Add all remaining items, reduce heat to simmer and cook another 10 minutes or until rattlesnake meat is done.
  3. Serve with something cold to drink.

To my taste, snake is a bit gamey in flavor, but can be soaked for an hour in salt water to make it more mild-flavored. It reminds me somewhat of frog legs and somewhat of emu jerky.

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You might prefer to keep snakes as far away from yourself as possible, by reading Preventing Snake Infestation and see how you can rid your home and garden of your snakes.


Makes enough for 10 - 12 servings.


  • 1 pound of alligator meat, minced
  • 1 large egg, well beaten
  • 1 Tbsp each of finely chopped Spanish onions, celery, parsley, green onions, green peppers
  • 2 tsp lemon-pepper mix
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 Cup fine bread crumbs

For frying:

  • 1 Cup vegetable oil for pan frying
  • A bowl of all purpose flour for dredging meat


  1. In a large mixing bowl, place all the of the first list of ingredients and hand mix well.
  2. Make meat balls of 1-inch diameter on a clean baking sheet and set the set aside to set and meld flavors for 60 minutes.
  3. Dredge in flour and fry a few at a time until brown.

Serves 4


  • 2 pounds of alligator meat, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 Cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 Cup milk
  • 3 large eggs, well beaten
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp white pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic and 6 green onions, chopped fine
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
  • Vegetable oil in an amount for deep-frying the fritters


  1. In a large mixing bowl, place the meat.
  2. Pour in milk, egg, flour, baking powder, and garlic and mix well by hand.
  3. Add green onions, salt and pepper, and cilantro and mix. The mixture should be sticky and adhere to each piece of meat as you take it out. If not, added another beaten egg.
  4. In a fryer or large iron skillet, heat 1.5 to 2 inches of cooking oil to 360 degrees F by thermometer.
  5. Form fritters with a spoon and drop in batches of a few, with tongs, frying each side about 2 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Drain on paper toweling and serve hot with dipping sauces.


I once received a request for directions for cooking a dinosaur and whether this could be accomplished or not, if America began to clone them. I had cartoon visions of a T-Rex sitting on an iron skillet.

Larger and/or older reptiles may have a more distinctive gamy flavor than smaller or younger reptiles and require the meat to be soaked overnight in a salt water bath after being cut up, in order to remove some of that taste.

Whole lizards are cooked over fire on sticks in some parts of Africa. Insects and grubs are eaten from sticks, often sold in markets and vendor stalls. At the Alice Springs Desert Park in Australia, visitors can see cooks prepare Aboriginal foods (Bush Tucker), including lizards buried in a portion of a fire pit.

Women also create simple breads from various available seeds and grubs for nutrition. Particular areas of an open campfire are used differently: outer edges contain hot soil and ash, while in the middle the fire contains hot coals.

Some chili cook offs in the US are performed cowboy-style, using hot coals and heavy iron kettles, so we can probably cook about anything in the outback fire pit.

Some reptiles reportedly cooked in Australia include the Rock Python, Carpet Snake, a large Goanna type, and some from a group called "dragons" (family Amagidae). .

Not For The Faint - Hearted

Certain Asian specialty dishes require the reptile or fish portions to be fresh and still moving. The dish in the video below was the object of a Speed Cooking Contest in China.

Snake portions and fish portions are indeed still slightly moving as the dish sits immediately after assembly.

Speed Cooking Contest: Snake and Fish

© 2009 Patty Inglish MS


Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on March 08, 2012:

Oh no! Sometimes I envy vegetarians. : ) I hope you do get a chance to visit. Peru is a fascinating country.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on March 07, 2012:

Then when I visit, I will surely do that, but please do not introduce me to one before we cook it! Thanks so much.

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on March 07, 2012:

Yeah, it's sad if I think about it too much. But guinea pig is a delicacy here and it would be very insulting to refuse to eat it!

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on March 07, 2012:

I can't image eating the animal we keep as pets, but I know they are food. I really like alligator, tho.

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on March 07, 2012:

This is a unique hub. I especially like that the recipe for snake chili is followed by the video "How to keep snakes as far away from yourself as possible"! After reading your recipes, I realized that I'm not a big fan of reptile on the plate. I've tried alligator and snake and wouldn't choose to repeat the experience. Guinea pig is much better! : )

Genesis from Canada on November 29, 2011:

I'll pass on dinner thank you but this way an interesting read. ;0)

stars439 from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State. on June 07, 2011:

Very interesting hub. God Bless You.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on January 20, 2011:

You may be surprised, but in the 1070s, Kresge five-and-dime stores in Columbus Ohio carried rattlesnake meat in a tin in their small imported foods department. The Old Big Bear stores carried it as well until the 1980s, When I find some links for reptile meats, I'll add them to this Hub.

MonitorMan on January 19, 2011:

Where in the world does one find alligator or rattlesnake meat in the U.S.? I definitely don't remember seeing it anywhere (grocery store, etc).

Also, that asian snake cooking was dis-gus-ting haha.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on December 17, 2010:

Thanks for all the new posts!

Rick Zimmerman from Northeast Ohio on October 17, 2010:

Patty: Never thought of cooking reptiles, 'cause I'd probably never eat them anyway. But who knows? (How did you ever get to so many hubs? It's taken me a year to get to 444!) Speaking of cooking animals, you might like my Whopper Spaniel (or any of my other cartoons & humor). Regards, Rick Z

Vizey on September 07, 2009:

This is not a new concept but worth trying. People around the world are non vegetarian. I am a vegetarian and I am quite surprised how you people can eat such animals and insects.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on August 12, 2009:

Hi there! - The only time I ate frog legs, they tasted like an old rubber garden hose smells. But they'd been frozen and likley overcooked. I may try again.

ALB21467 from United Arab Emirates on August 12, 2009:

Try Frog Meat, taste great! Tastier than poultry products! Roasted or fry and contless recipes! No fat and cholesterol! But very difficult to catch them!

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on April 16, 2009:

All the alliqator - yes. Tried someone else's snake dishes at a gathering, through, and the recipe was great.

mayhmong from North Carolina on April 15, 2009:

I heard that a camels hump is full of fat! I don't blame ya for not wanting to eat it either. Now did you tried out all of those recipes yourself? Just curious...

Laughing Mom on April 03, 2009:

What in interesting hub, Patty. I've only eaten alligator once--in Branson. It was just for the novelty of saying I had done it, because I'm definitely on of those matter-over-mind people. But I don't think I could ever do snake. Not that it wouldn't taste good, but because my thought process would probably make me sick.

I didn't watch the video because when it comes to food, I can be one of those faint-of hearts. But it made me think of 'Iron Chef America'. I wonder if they'll ever do a show with fresh and still-moving things?

Jerilee Wei from United States on April 03, 2009:

Alligator and snake I'm pretty OK with. I make it a point to go to Michaul's every time I'm in New Orleans but like Prejeans in Lafayette better. Most unusual meal I've had outside of Asia, was iguana in Panama. I'm going to have to try the alligator recipes you provide. Great hub!

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on April 03, 2009:

Greetings HubMobsters and readers!

RKHenry - I would hate to eat rubbery food, except Frg Legs taste like a garden hose to me. These fritters are really very good.

PROCW - Thanks for the kind words. I think these would take some getting used to if one were not reasied from a child with such food!

guidebaba - I will help you with that roast! Ther have indeed been sightings for some time of a flying dinosaur creature in Brazil! I suppose it will becmoe an endangered species, though.

debris - I completely agree with you. I think it best to use the products found in one;s own local ecosystem. After all, native lants seem to grow best in their local environs and stop erosion as well...

McTibble - That is a striking video. I found several that were completely creepy and hard to watch, though. Some restuarants were like meat packing houses!

earnestshub - thanks for your great comment! Must be wonderful to have such interesting friends and neighbors. I suppose dryness is why some folks cook snake in wine.

D-Ma -- Raw oysters can be pretty good once you eat the first one. Alligator definetely tastes better than snake to me, but I've only had one type of snake.

doodlebugs - Than sounds pretty good. I wonder if the snake meat producers send the venom to the hospitals for anti-venom medicine? If Texas catch these snakes around their property, they can eat them if they present danger to small children and pets if they cannot send them someplace safer.

AEvans - Very intersting! I bet in a chicken and dumplings type of affair, it would taste more like chicken.

sarahonweb - Thanks for visiting. We have many Hubbers with wonderful recipes.

Thanks to everyone for visiting! :)

sarahonweb on April 03, 2009:

ohhh cooking recipes on hub...

g888 idea...

Julianna from SomeWhere Out There on April 02, 2009:

I have eaten alligator and I do have to say myself the way it was cooked tasted like chicken to me. Rattlesnake I couldn't get past the psychological aspect of it, so I chosen to not tempt it again.:)

Nolen Hart from Southwest on April 02, 2009:

I have eaten fried rattlesnake. It is a delicacy along the Texas - Mexican border and other regions. It does taste a bit like chicken too, really.

Merle Ann Johnson from NW in the land of the Free on April 02, 2009:

I just cannot imagine eating any of these things...but then who ever thought you could eat a raw oyster to begin with??? Nicely done hub tho my dear...yuckies...gags G-Ma ...:O) Hugs

earnestshub from Melbourne Australia on April 02, 2009:

I love snakes and other reptiles, but not to eat. I am in Australia and have tried grubs and other odd foods cooked by my Australian aboriginal friend. I have eaten snake as a kid when we accidently killed a yellow-belly black about two metres long. It was dry and fairly tasteless. I have eaten field mice too, and they taste great!

I have an old rule I follow from my bushman father. I do not eat meat that I would not kill myself. This way although a carnivor, I try to be real about the death of the beast I eat.

Having killed and butchered lamb, cattle, pig, rabbit and deer I still have a good choice of meat to choose from!

McTibble on April 02, 2009:

Wow - great idea for a hub :)

That video of the live snakes was a bit intense!

Dennis Ebris from Florida on April 02, 2009:

Hi there!

Just wanted to say this was a really neat hub! While some may find these things gross, it's important to know how to tastefully prepare local animals for food in the event that grocery supply chains are interrupted for any reason. Great work and keep it up!


guidebaba from India on April 02, 2009:

Damn ! I am looking for a pan to fry Dinosaur that i got hold of in the jungles of Brazil. How about a Dinosaur Roast ?!@#$%.

ProCW from South Carolina on April 01, 2009:

I have to say, while the hub is very well written, it definitely turned my stomach a little. I'm a little green right now! And so is the button that I'm about to press! :)


RKHenry from Neighborhood museum in Somewhere, USA on April 01, 2009:

First it was garden snakes this morning and now its alligators. I had my alligator deep fried in South Florida. Nothing but rubber. Yuk. I'm sure yours would be better. I love your different subject matter and topics. Thanks for producing great material.


Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on April 01, 2009:

Oooooooh, jelly-like is not good for me unless it is jelly. But I do like alligator. it is rather like fish-chicken tastiness.

I remember some old movie where a woman supposedly made snake jelly and everyone thought she was a witch.

If I could find a better picture of the recently discovered dinosaur that artists drew as part bird, that would have been more original yet. :)

Thnaks very much for visiting, Princessa!

Wendy Iturrizaga from France on April 01, 2009:

Wow... I did try alligator once in Peru, it was just grilled. It had a distinctive taste between chicken and fish... an alligator taste I guess :) We also had Turtle -which I hated as it had a horrible jelly like texture.

Thumbs up for originality !

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