Recently, an article in the local paper, the Daily Gleaner, caught my attention. According to the piece, men in the eastern parish of St. Thomas are drinking a stamina punch that’s made from crocodile eggs.
Several things went through my mind as I read the headline: why crocodile eggs, how do they harvest them, how did the craze start, and how long has it been going on?
I shook my head as I dug further into the article. Men, especially those who believe their value lies in their ability to multiply, will do anything if there’s even a hint that it will make them more potent.
It is explains the popularity of concoctions that are considered aphrodisiacs, like Irish Moss, a seaweed-based blend, the aptly titled, Mannish Water soup, made from goat offal (intestines, testicles, head, legs), and Cow Cod soup, which is made using bull’s testicles, and another punch that’s made from the eggs of the hawksbill turtle, another endangered species.
Having had the first three, with no effects, I’ve often wondered if it’s not just all in the head. But my stomach churned just thinking of a punch made from crocodile eggs.
Crocodiles have been around for more than 200 million years. They are farmed commercially in several countries for their meat, as well as their hide and underbelly, which are used to make shoes, belts, handbags, etc. The musk glands of some species are even used in perfumes.
While the meat, which is said to be low in fat and calories and high in protein, is eaten in parts of Australia, Asia, Africa and the U.S., I have no found proof that the eggs are nutritious.
Jamaica’s crocodile species, the American crocodile, is found in the mangroves along the island’s southern coast. An adult male can grow to up to 15 feet long and weigh about 800 pounds, the female about 10 feet and up to 400 pounds.
Crocodiles breed between March and August. Following that, the female produce between 20-70 eggs, which she buries and guards ferociously. The eggs can take up to three months to incubation.
Despite being covered under the island’s Wildlife Protection Act since 1971, Jamaica’s crocodile population is under threat due to encroachment on and destruction of their habitats, hunting and killing.
Under the Act, anyone caught capturing, harming or having any part of the creature, living or dead, in their possession can incur a fine of J$100,000 (US$1,000) and/or a prison term of up to two years.
Sadly, in the minds of these men, the fine and threat of prison, and the potential for loss of life should one of these massive and aggressive creatures attack, take a back seat to their virility. And the government appears impotent to enforce the law.