Effects of processing stages and pond type on crocodile skin size and quality.
A study was done to assess the effects of processing stages and pond type on crocodile skin size and quality. The project was done between November 2013 to March 2014 at Mimosa Park Farm about 32Km out of Bulawayo along Bulawayo-Tsholotsho Road. A total of 400 skins were assessed, of which 200 skins were from each pond (that is from the cement ponds and the earth ponds). The skins were tagged (numbered) for identification purposes. The skins had their belly sizes measured before and after being subjected to the processing stages namely skinning, fleshing and curing. The skins were also graded in terms of quality after every stage. Overall, the study showed that all skins from both ponds deteriorated in quality from the first to the last stage. There was also a change in crocodile skin sizes especially after the curing stage where cement pond skins showed a slight change while earth pond skins showed a much significant change. Generally all skins had a great decrease in quality after the second processing stage (fleshing) and the least effect to their quality in the first (skinning) and last stage (curing). The results also showed that the emergence of the putrid skins is valid and present after the last processing stage (curing). Since the study showed effects of processing on crocodile skin size and quality to a greater extent, there is need to change the way the current processing stages are done in order to improve crocodile skin qualities and minimise losses due to skin shrinkage.