Crocodile Farming in South Africa: The Deadly Practice in South Africa

Crocodile farming in South Africa is carried legally and there are farms that have certification for their production. In addition, South Africa has the advantage that it produces high-quality crocodile skins, which are quoted by major brands. Although there are few farms that strive in the production of this type but get good profits from that.

The crocodile population in South Africa is under threat, with the number of wild crocs down to 4 000 from over 100 000. There are only two commercial farms left in South Africa and one of them is being plagued by a host of problems. Crocodiles on this farm have died due to poor management practices as well as disease outbreaks. This blog post will explore some reasons for the demise of these animals and how they can be saved.

Crocodile farming in South Africa


There are at least 60 farms that are registered that are dedicated to Crocodile farming in South Africa. In a year they produce between 30.000 and 50.000 crocodile skins. According to records carried by the farms, there are at least 500 thousand crocodiles in captivity.


In figures, the production that takes place in this region only 10% of the final product stays within South Africa. While the rest and that is in greater proportion is export to the European continent and Japan. Where the production of skins leads to large fashion industries, and make creations such as shoes, handbags, and purses. To a lesser extent, they export it to countries in the Far East.

As for the value of the skins, the European and Japanese markets are the ones that make the highest payment, and they are the ones that wear the best skins. The profitability and the profits that are produced by the sale of crocodile skins are obtained mainly by the export. That is why local farmers focus their market on exporting. When the external market has recessions it is there when the profits of South Africa are severely affected.


One of the species that is obtained in South Africa and is the one that manages to export is the crocodile of the Nile. The Nile crocodile is a large, saltwater-inhabiting species of the Crocodylus genus. In Africa, it lives in freshwater habitats or marshlands that can be found throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa (excluding Madagascar and certain other islands). If you’re looking to spot one near its home range then head over to their preferred habitat: lakes, swamps, or rivers.


In general, the big fashion houses are those that make the acquisition of skins of good quality. That is why they have staff in charge who goes to the farms and evaluate the condition of the skins before they reach their destination. The requirement of the skins is very high, and the evaluators are not satisfied with a good quality skin.

They even have a high skin grade rating. Fashion houses compete with each other for perfect crocodile skins. That’s why when someone sets the tone, another fashion house becomes more demanding than the others. And that’s where competition from fur producers comes in, and the cost of fur comes into play as well. However, there are few farms that come to produce skins that are of high quality and approval of fashion houses. So that the market in South Africa is very scarce and with great selectivity.

Quality vs Production

The quality is very associated with the space in which the crocodile is raised. And the more it resembles wild places and the water is acclimated and causes less stress to the crocodile, the better the quality of the skin. However, the investment that the farmers must make is great, and they must have conditioned spaces for it.

The production of high-quality skins is somewhat complex, however, it is not impossible. Only that the farms that are destined to that must be focused on the production of high-quality skins, and take care of the crocodiles. Similarly, crocodiles that are in a certain amount of square meters should be well measured, so that there is no overpopulation in the areas.

The situation that plays against the production, since the farms that produce pro amount do not take as many measures or dedicate so much time inbreeding. The breeding of high-quality skins requires not only investment, but time, and long-term production. However, human populations are expanding to areas where crocodiles live. The fact that affects the crocodiles that raise wild since their skin is not of high quality.

So the species that are bred in captivity have better skins than the species that are at the wild level. You may also like to read about the Crocodile farming business plan

Market Regulations

Something that fashion houses have taken into account is that the production of crocodiles has to be very conscientious and not indiscriminate. That is why farms that produce high-quality skins in addition to breeding, producing have to be responsible for preserving and conserving the species. Something that self-sustainability not only to the farms but also the farms are pro-occupy in the care of the crocodile species they produce.

If some supervisor of the fashion houses observes the crocodiles in bad conditions, of health, or that the places where they raise them are not hygienic, or if they mistreat the species, they revoke the purchase. That is why the crocodile breeding and production of high-quality leathers must follow certain parameters and meet the expectations of customers.


Although the main use that gives it to the production of skins is the commercialization for the manufacture of footwear, handbags, and purses. There is also a small crocodile meat market, however, the sale of exported meat is less than 10%.

The export, although little is done to countries where they use the product in restaurants and hotels where they prepare exotic dishes and know the value of meat. However, it is not a very large market, and there are some farmers who sell meat to generate immediate profits. You may also like to read Crocodile farming industry

Health Measures

Crocodiles can be fed with meat from other crocodiles as long as the meat is fresh. There are some farmers who feed their crocodiles with dead animals, and this does not entail any harm to the species. However, crocodiles that eat meat from dead animals should not be used as meat for human consumption.


Although South Africa lives from the export of crocodile skins, the standards for the production of these are high. And it requires a lot of dedication and time to get to produce quality skins. But production remains constant. In addition, the farms can only dedicate themselves to producing, or generate large profits, producing high-quality skins. Although environmentalists urge that farms are not self-sustaining and care for the species only at the request of customers. But they do it to maintain and conserve the species regardless of the market they have. Only then will future generations of crocodiles.

As a reference: Wikipedia

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to Top