[[quoteright:249: [[Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/apothecary_1.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:249:Romeo supporting his local apothecary - note the alligator in the upper left.]]

->''There was a large crystal ball with a crack in it, an astrolabe with several bits missing, a rather scuffed octogram on the floor, and a stuffed alligator hanging from the ceiling. A stuffed alligator is absolutely standard equipment in any properly-run magical establishment. This one looked as though it hadn't enjoyed it much.''
-->-- ''Discworld/{{Mort}}''

The workshop of a wizard, alchemist, or apothecary is never complete without a stuffed crocodile or alligator hanging from the ceiling. What it's actually ''for'' [[CowTools is anybody's guess]].

Somewhat TruthInTelevision, as historically animal skeletons, fossils, and taxidermy pieces were exhibited by medieval apothecaries and astrologers as a show of wealth and worldliness. The curiosities brought in both gawkers and customers, and served as a form of advertisement; after all, anyone making enough money to purchase exotic specimens for display must be doing good business. This trend would eventually evolve into early museums in the form of personal "cabinets of curiosities" -- see [[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f3/RitrattoMuseoFerranteImperato.jpg this picture]] from 1599.

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!!Examples:

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[[folder:Arts]]
* ''The Alchemist at Work'', a 17th-century painting by David Teniers the Elder.
* ''John Dee performing an experiment before Queen Elizabeth I'', by Henry Gillard Glindoni.
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[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/The7thVoyageOfSinbad'' (1958): There is a stuffed alligator mounted on the walls of the workshop of Sokurah the magician.
* In ''Film/FistOfLegend'' a kung fu master uses dried crocodile to treat his asthma, knowledge of which is used to poison him.
* In the Soviet movie "The Doctor's Apprentice" (Uchenik Lekarya) the titular doctor has a stuffed crocodile hanging from the ceiling of his workshop, as well as other exotic animals, birds and fish.
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[[folder:Literature]]
* ''Anastasius'' (1836) by Thomas Hope:
-->There the wizard sat in all his state. A stuffed crocodile canopied his head; a serpent's skin of large dimensions was spread under his feet, and an old clothes-chest afforded support to the parts between.
* "Shadows on the Rock" (1931) by Willa Cather features one, in the apothecary shop owned by protagonist Cecile's father. It's a hand-me-down from Auclair's grandfather, and he keeps it purely as decoration (being a surprisingly forward-thinking apothecary for 1697).
* "The Return of the Sorcerer" (1931) by Creator/ClarkAshtonSmith:
-->There were tables strewn with archaic instruments of doubtful use, with astrological charts, with skulls and alembics and crystals, with censers such as are used in the Catholic Church, and volumes bound in worm-eaten leather with verdigris-mottled clasps. In one corner stood the skeleton of a large ape; in another, a human skeleton; and overhead a stuffed crocodile was suspended.
* Merlyn's cottage in ''Literature/TheOnceAndFutureKing'' (1938):
-->There was a real corkindrill hanging from the rafters, very life-like and horrible with glass eyes and scaly tail stretched out behind it. When its master came into the room it winked one eye in salutation, although it was stuffed.
* Miss Price's workroom in ''Literature/BedknobAndBroomstick'' (1943) by Mary Norton.
-->Gradually, the children discovered other treasures: a chart on which the signs of the zodiac were nicely touched up by Miss Price in water color; a sheep's skull; a chocolate box full of dried mice; herbs in bunches; a pot of growing hemlock and one of witch's bane; a small stuffed alligator, which hung by two wires from the ceiling.\\
"What are alligators used for, Miss Price?" asked Paul.\\
Again Miss Price's long training in truthfulness overcame her longing to impress. "Nothing much," she said. "They're out of date now. I like to have it there for the look of it."
* Lord Portico's study in ''Literature/{{Neverwhere}}'' (1996):
-->The stuffed crocodile hanging from the ceiling; the leather-bound books, an astrolabe, convex and concave mirrors, odd scientific instruments
* In ''Literature/LoyalEnemies'', Shelena's employer has stuffed basilisk. Dusty and rather shabby at that, but everyone is too lazy to bring it to taxidermist for restauration.
* Frequently mentioned, and {{Lampshad|eHanging}}ed as a occupational necessity, in the Literature/{{Discworld}} series. Every proper wizard has a stuffed alligator hanging from the ceiling of his laboratory, even if there aren't any alligators naturally in the area. No one, ''especially'' the wizards, is sure why[[note]]Though never brought up in books in which the term is used, a witch would probably consider this to be a form of Boffo used to establish one's credentials[[/note]].
** ''Discworld/TheLightFantastic'' (1986):
--->''Like all wizards' workshops, the place looked as though a taxidermist had dropped his stock in a foundry and then had a fight with a maddened glassblower, braining a passing crocodile in the process (it hung from the rafters and smelt strongly of camphor).''
** In the same book, a magic shop also briefly displays a stuffed crocodile "with a lifelike expression of extreme pain and surprise."
** Cutwell's workshop in ''Discworld/{{Mort}}'' (1987).
** In ''Discworld/SoulMusic'' (1994), Quoth the Raven says that "the old stuffed alligator hanging from the ceiling" is a key part of wizardry, like dribbly candles and "[[TechnicolorScience bubbling green stuff in bottles]]".
* The dog wizard Tibbeth's shop in ''Literature/StrangerAtTheWedding'' (1994) by Creator/BarbaraHambly: "A mummified crocodile hung from the low rafters overhead." The trope is played with, in that it is a common wizard's prop in-universe, and its use is eventually explained -- it's hanging until it is entirely mummified, at which point it will be cut to pieces for use in potions and replaced by a fresh one.
* An early edition of ''Literature/TheSteerswoman'' (1989) by Rosemary Kirstein shows, on the cover, a scene set in a wizard's sanctum. You can tell it's a wizard's sanctum because of the stuffed crocodile hanging from the roof -- an interesting case of trope-as-shorthand, since the wizards' sanctum in the book itself is entirely bereft of taxidermied reptiles.
* Mentioned in Book 1 of ''Literature/TheBartimaeusTrilogy'' (2003) in the description of the magician Arthur Underwood's study. The djinni Bartimaeus notes that this, along with other stereotypical "wizardly" paraphernalia, is a good indication that Underwood is a second rate poser, trying to hide his incompetence behind spooky-looking knickknacks that impress the {{Muggles}} but don't have any practical use, whereas the truly powerful magicians favor a sleek, modern look (and as later events demonstrate, calling Underwood a "second rate poser" might be considered overly generous).
* Referenced in ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'', where [[BadassBookworm Verin's]] rooms in the White Tower feature (among [[GeniusSlob many other things]]) the skull of a huge, toothy lizard native to [[SwampsAreEvil the Drowned Lands]].
* In ''One Good Knight'' (2006), from the ''Literature/TalesOfTheFiveHundredKingdoms'' series by Creator/MercedesLackey, one character comments that the Tradition ''requires'' Acadian Sophants (cross between a wizard and an adviser) to have a stuffed crocodile hanging from their rafters. When he tried to get rid of his, there was an even bigger one hanging from his ceiling the next day, looking smug.
* In ''Literature/TheWiseMansFear'', Caudicus, who purports to be a healer, has one in his tower. When the main character asks what it's for, Caudicus admits that he has no idea.
* According to Creator/DianaWynneJones's ''Literature/TheToughGuideToFantasyland'', alligators in Fantasyland are:
-->"now to be found only in a mummified state hanging from the rafters of a Wizardís workroom. If the Alligator is present, it is a sure sign that the Wizard is friendly."
* In the Sherlock Holmes sequel ''Sherlock Holmes und das Ungeheuer von Ulmen'' (Sherlock Holmes and the Monster of Ulmen) by Franziska Franke, there is an apothecary shop complete with stuffed alligator.
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[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Outlander}}'' in the episode "Not in Scotland Anymore", Clare enters Master Raymond's apothecary, where a stuffed alligator is clearly shown suspended from the ceiling.
* In ''Series/{{Lidsville}}'', one of Hoodoo the Magician's "knick-knacks" is the Mounted Alligator Head.
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[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/CallOfCthulhu'' campaign ''The Fungi from Yuggoth'' (1984), adventure "The Thing in the Well". Dr. Cornwallis has a stuffed alligator hanging by wires from the ceiling of his alchemical laboratory.
* In the 1st edition ''TabletopGame/WarhammerFantasyRoleplay'' adventure, "Dying of the Light" (1995), the characters meet Dr Balthazar, a [[OurDwarvesAreAllTheSame dwarf]] alchemist from the University of Nuln. The cart he is travelling in is loaded with the paraphernalia of his alchemical studies including a stuffed alligator.
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[[folder:Theater]]
* The description of the apothecary's shop in ''Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet'' (1597), Act V Scene I:
-->''And in his needy shop a tortoise hung,\\
An alligator stuff'd, and other skins\\
Of ill-shaped fishes''
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[[folder:Video Games]]
* The Voodoo Lady in ''VideoGame/TheCurseOfMonkeyIsland'' (1997) has a stuffed alligator whose tongue you have to pull to summon her.
* The Voodoo shop in ''[[VideoGame/GabrielKnight Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers]]'' (1993) has a dried alligator head. The proprietor claims it to be just a curio to impress tourists and superstitious old ladies. [[spoiler:He is lying: the head is an authentic mask for use in Voodoo rituals.]]
* In ''Videogame/Uncharted3DrakesDeception'', there is a dissected crocodile attached to a balcony in the library below London. There is even a trophy for jumping over it called "Ride the Crocodile".
* In the VideoGame/MysteryCaseFiles game ''Ravenhearst Unlocked'', the apothecary shop has what appears to be a stuffed ''dimetrodon'' hanging from the ceiling.
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[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/TheMansionOfE'', [[MadBomber Crazy Rhid]] has a stuffed "crocogator" hanging in his chemical workshop.
* In ''Webcomic/RoguesOfClwydRhan'', Krakatoa the witch also has a stuffed crocodile [[http://rocr.net/index.php?p=20070426 hanging from the ceiling of her house]].
* The ''Webcomic/SkinHorse'' storyline "Ghosts I Have Been", which is both OfficialFanSubmittedContent and ADayInTheLimelight for Remy the voodoo mortician, opens with him picking up his groceries, including a dead alligator. Which is then possessed by the Nonhuman Intelligence of the Week.
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[[folder:Real Life]]
* In Chinese herbal medicine, dried crocodile has been used to treat breathing disorders; any crocodilian merit aside, this might have done some good because the dried crocodiles were typically preserved with a strong addition of camphor, which is known to help relieve mild asthma.
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