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Crocodile leather

Crocodile leather cowboy boot
Stylish crocodile leather cowboy boot

What comes to mind when you think of the crocodile? Mysterious, ugly, unpredictable, huge, smelly reptile.

But despite it's fearsome reputation (and smell), it is by far the most well-known exotic leather. Just almost everyone would like to have one or already own one. Crocodile leather belts, wallets, purses, handbags, briefcases, even boots! Mind you, they are very expensive (I'll just buy a belt, thank you). Think high class. They happen to be one of the durable types of leather; they are very tough.

Stuff to Know

Crocodile (Crocodylinae)
Maximum size & weight:
Biggest crocodile is found in the Crocodile Farm in Samut Prakan province, Thailand. It is 6 meters long (19.6 feet) and weighs 1,114.27 kg (2,455.95 lbs).
Maximum age:
Approximately 70 years or more depending on environmental stress (Oh yes, they get stressed, too!). The oldest crocodile is 115 years old found in Yekaterinburg, Russia. It has died already, sorry folks, you could not see it alive anymore.
Cross breeds found in crocodile farms are not protected.
Where it lives in the wild
They are found in the tropics; Africa, Asia, Australia and Americas.
Where is it farmed?
They are farmed in crocodile farms where the climate is suitable (tropical).
Dangerous to humans?
Oh my, yes!! Stay out of range of its tail and the jaws!
Afraid of humans?
No. Let's just say they look at humans with indifference and contempt, or find us annoying.
People injured yearly
Handlers get bitten or hit by the strong tail, wild crocodiles attack people on camping trips. We do not have available global statistics at the present.
People killed yearly by
Crocodiles did kill people. We do not have global statistics for that.
Is meat edible?
Yes. Quiet a delicacy in China.
Taste of meat
A rather delicate flavour, a bit like chicken or fish. It can be another kind of white-meat.
Living habits:
They tend to live in slow-moving rivers and some are found in the sea.
Eating habits:
Crocodiles eat dead or living mammals and fish.
Farming style:
They are farmed in Australia, Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia.
Harversting weight and size:
They are sent to be processed when reaching the length of 1.5–2 metres (4.92-6.56 feet).
Skin processing:

The skin is separated from the flesh.

Then it is soaked in water to remove dirt, blood, salt and other excess fats. The animal hide is fleshed; the flesh is removed from the surface of the hide. Usually this process is done by machines.

If there are hairs, this step is followed. Hair removal is done by soaking the hide in a lime solution. This action loosens the hair from the skin. Then the hide is scudded; removing of the hairs by using a dull knife (this process is usually automated by machines).

When that is done, the lime should be removed (deliming). Then it is ready for tanning.

The tanning process may differ depending on the required end-product. Vegetable or natural tanning will produce stiff but flexible leathers suited for luggages, furniture, leashes, belts and similar items. The compound used are usually organic and they contain tannin (you guessed it, this is where we get the term "leather tanning"). Tannin comes from bark, leaves, wood and fruit of chestnut, oakwood trees, hemlock trees.

Then there is mineral tanning which uses mineral compounds; chrome for example.

The leather can be dyed and/or polished further according to fashion.

Leather durability:
Very tough, maybe tougher than most cattle leather.
Leather softness:
Crocodile leather is not soft.
Other Leather features:
It has scales, folds and ridges that show natural patterns.
Leather relative value (1-10) in finished products.

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