Significance to humans

Although the benefit is difficult to quantify, some species of alligatorids play an important role in the tourism industry. American alligators in the southeastern United States, for example, have become tourist attractions, drawing visitors to the Everglades of southern Florida and the bayous of Louisiana. Several members of this family are hunted, especially for their skin, which is used as leather for shoes, bags, and various accessories. Humans also hunt these animals for meat and, recently, for their gonads, which are used to make perfume.

Chinese Alligator Tail

1. American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis); 2. Common caiman (Caiman crocodilus); 3. Chinese alligator (Alligator sinensis); 4. Smooth-fronted caiman (Paleosuchus trigonatus). (Illustration by Brian Cressman)

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