About crocodiles

The crocodilian family consists of 23 kinds of crocodile, alligator, caimans and gharials. They are all reptiles. 

Crocodiles are large, dangerous reptiles found in tropical climates where the temperatures are very warm all year round. They have longer, narrower snouts than alligators, and the 4th tooth of the lower jaw is outside when the mouth is closed. There are two kinds of crocodile, the estuarine (or saltwater) and the freshwater.

Their long, flattened tail moves from side to side and propels them through the water, with their legs by their sides. The legs are short with webbed toes, five on the front legs and four on the back legs. On land, crocodiles can run very quickly, lifting their bodies up off the ground. The eyes and nostrils are on the top part of the head so that they can lie in the water almost completely hidden from view.

Crocodile Farming and Ranching

All crocodilians are protected animals. Many species (kinds) of crocodilian have been saved from extinction by crocodile farming and ranching, in which farmers make their living from crocodile products and from tourism. 

Farming means that farmers keep adult animals and collect eggs from them each year, and not from the wild. 

Ranching means that farmers have a licence to take a small number of eggs or crocodiles from the wild. This gives more encouragement to people to preserve the wetlands habitat, and therefore the crocodiles. 

Crocodiles in a crocodile farm. ©iStock

Crocodiles in a crocodile farm. ©iStock

All farming and ranching of crocodiles must meet the strict regulations set by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna) so that they do not have a bad impact on the wild population.


Products made from crocodile skin

Crocodiles are farmed in Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, and the Philippines, among other countries. The skin is made into leather products such as shoes and bags. It takes the skins of about four crocodiles to make one bag, as only particular parts of the skin are used. The skin of crocodiles from southeast Asia and Australia are particularly favoured for quality leather goods.

Crocodile leather product. ©iStock

Crocodile leather product. ©iStock

Thailand has the largest crocodile farming industry in the world. Thailand supplies the major international fashion companies with crocodile leather to make expensive bags and shoes. The meat is sold for food.  

Female crocodiles lay about 50 eggs in a nest. On a crocodile farm, the eggs are removed and placed in an incubator to hatch. The eggs hatch in about 60 days. The young crocodiles are kept in enclosures until they are about 1.5 metres long.


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