Australian Saltwater Crocodiles - Crocodylus porosus
The largest reptiles in the world, saltwater crocodiles are predators in wetland regions of Australia and South East Asia. Population pressure in South East Asia has pushed the species to near extinction there while the Australian Government management programmes introduced in the 1970’s have restored the wild population numbers to pre-European occupation levels.
Our crocodiles occupy coastal rivers and swamps, open sea and island shorelines, extending well inland among major rivers, floodplain billabongs into freshwater rivers, creeks and swamps.
Crocodile management programmes in the Northern Territory ensure the viability of the wild population and supports farming of the world’s largest reptile. The first crocodile farm was established in 1980 and there are now eight licensed farms.
Crocodile farms and support businesses provide employment for hundreds with skins exported to major customers in Europe and Asia. To supplement farm stocks thousands of eggs are harvested from wild nests each year under Government Wildlife Commission controls.
A female lays eggs in a nest of mud and grass. The sex of offspring is determined by the temperature at which the eggs are incubated. If the nest is below 30 C, females result, at 31 C a mix of sexes occurs and 32 C – 33 C produces mostly males.
Crocodile skins are composed of a network of interconnected scales or scutes of various types and sizes. On the belly surfaces of the saltwater crocodile, the scales tend to be squareish and flat. The belly skin is most commonly used in the exotic leather industry for luxury accessories, clothing and furniture. The backstrap (horned section on the very back of the crocodile) is used for belts, hatbands and jewellery.
Our saltwater crocodile skins are considered the most valuable of all species because of the small scale pattern compared with other species, and the beauty and pliability of the backstrap.
The farm crocodiles are ready for harvesting at two to three years of age when the belly skin around the widest part measures 38cms or more when laid flat. Skins are individually identified by the attachment of Government issued tags to ensure that all future movement of each skin complies with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).