Umbilical Scar Controversy 

An Umbilical Scar (clinically known as the umbilicus and colloquially known as the navel) is a scar that is formed on the abdomen at the attachment site of the umbilical cord or the yolk after its removal. Most animals have it, including placental mammals and non-mammals (reptiles, birds, and other egg laying species), as well as humans. In animals, they are differently shaped and tend to be smoother and flatter, often nothing more than a thin line, like in reptiles. Designers often prominently display umbilical scars on their reptile handbags to make their authenticity evident.

Note that a great deal of misinformation surrounds the products made with various exotic skins. One such myth erroneously claims that only Alligators have umbilical scars, but not Crocodiles. In reality, virtually all animals have umbilical scars, including all crocodilian species. To learn more about their different shapes and patterns, please examine the swatches of the Alligator and Crocodile skins presented above. Note that the Crocodile umbilical scars shown on the right are less ornate in comparison with the Alligator's, but nevertheless they are indeed umbilical scars. The myth was disseminated as a result of incomplete information provided on the website of the Louisiana Alligator Advisory Council, the agency responsible for marketing of American Alligator. It incorrectly states the following: "The single most distinguishing feature of alligator leather is the umbilical scar. The alligator is the only crocodilian that has this feature." It is our greatest hope that the provided factual examples will help correct this error and assist consumers with properly distinguishing between Alligator and Crocodile.

Victoria Stowe Collection



"The (alligator) umbilical scar is an elongated star shaped with a webbing pattern in it. Finding this mark on leather identifies it as genuine alligator."   Source: Louisiana Alligator Advisory Council



The crocodile umbilical scar is a central line with a branching pattern situated in the middle of the belly. Scroll the gallery to see several examples illustrating their slightly different patterns depending on various crocodile species. Note the ISOs - hair follicles on the scales - the most distinguishing feature of the crocodile skin.




All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Amazon
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter