Crocodile is a reptilian animal. It is found almost all over the world except Europe. Crocodiles were originated about 17.5 crore years ago and it has been a part of biodiversity in different geographical location through out the world (Mazid and Hossain. 2004.). There are 23 crocodilian species under 3 families are found in the world.
Since, crocodile is the most aggressive and ferocious animal, earning of foreign currency through its commercial farming is undoubtedly a quite exceptional phenomenon. Despite of being are dangerous animal, crocodile farming has been started in our country, under the initiatives of a private farm named Reptiles Farm Limited (RFL). It is the only commercial producer of crocodiles in our country. This farm has been established in 2003, on 15 acres in Uthura, Under Bhaluka Upazilla, 14 KM from Mymensingh road.
Planning of the farm was made by Mustaq Ahmed. Mesbahul Haque, the founder chairman of the farm came forward as investor and provides policy guidelines to the farm. They got credit facilities from the Bangladesh Bank- EEF (Equity and Entrepreneurship Fund) unit. As well as technically supported by SEDF (World Bank).
The farm imported 75 crocodiles (15 males and 60 females) from Malaysia at the coast of Tk. 1.15 crore on 22 December, 2004. The scientific name of the imported species is Crocodylus porosus (Salt water crocodile). Its average life span is about 100 years. Eight crocodiles out of 75 imported crocodiles died during acclimatization in the new environment.
At present remaining 67 matured crocodiles have been kept in 32 rearing ponds (dept of 6-7 feet), as brood stock.
Generally crocodile breeds in the rainy season. They lay eggs after 7 days of mating. Every female crocodile lay 20 to 80 eggs. Generally crocodiles do not lay eggs at day time. In most of the cases, they lay eggs at dead of the night and all the eggs are laid in a day. Eggs are laid in a nest. They built their nest of soil, leaves and other vegetation. Sometimes they build two nests where one is false to bluff their enemies. Mother crocodiles protecting her nest very aggressively. The female crocodile absorbs or destroys the eggs when the external environment is unfavorable.
Ultra modern artificial incubator is used in the farm with a view to incubation of the eggs. At 32°C temperature, 80-82 days required for the eggs to hatch. It’s interesting that sex of the young depends upon the temperature of the incubator. Young may be male when the temperature is maintained between 30-32°C whereas young may be female when temperature is maintained below 30°C.
First step of commercial success of the farm has been started through incubation of eggs. In August-2006, only two crocodiles laid 67 eggs of which three hatched but all died within 24 hours. In July-August 2007, 15 crocodiles laid 604 eggs of which 144 crocodile hatchlings survived. In 2008, 21 crocodiles laid 940 eggs of which 241 crocodile hatchling survived. In 2009, they got a further 418 crocodile hatchlings from 1150 eggs.
The young crocodiles are being reared in temperature controlled chamber. A young crocodile are very sensitive to smell of human. At least two certain persons are needed to supply feeds to the young daily. If the person is changed, they will stop feeding and will die. One year old young crocodile requires 20% feed of their total body weight per day. Minced beef or poultry is fed to the young. Adult crocodiles are supplied cow meat, poultry meat and fish as their feed. 20% feed of their total body weight is supplied to the adult crocodiles one time per week.
Generally crocodiles are not attacked with diseases, if they are farmed under proper management. Fungal disease is found occasionally in small sized crocodiles. But this disease has not yet been found in this farm.
The price of 1cm2 skin of crocodile is 20-35 US dollar, where the price of it’s processed meat in the international open market is 200 US dollar per Kg.
|Parts of body||Product|
|Skin||Belt, Purse etc.|
Mustaq Ahmed, Managing director of the farm recently informed that, already they exported 67 crocodiles for research work to Heidelberg University of Germany. In addition he said that, 400 crocodiles are ready to harvest, which they are hopeful to export by the end of this year. Successful production of crocodile can lead the farm to an earning source of Tk. 7-8 crore per year.
Mazid, M.A. and M.A. Hossain. 2004. A Manual on Turtle and Crocodile Farming and Conservation. Extension Manual No. 30. Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute, Mymensingh p 9.