Exotic Leather Blog

Learning Exotic Leather: Caiman

Posted by Mark Mendal on May 20, 2015 11:12:00 AM

The Animal

The Caiman is often compared to the skin of crocodiles, although their skin is softer and significantly less expensive.The caiman crocodilus fuscus is one of four types of commonly traded skins within the Caiman species. It can be found in Central America and in the northern areas of South America — mostly from the country of Colombia.

Caiman are much smaller in size than other crocodiles. The Caiman reaches up to 8 feet in length, but is typically between 4 to 6 feet when fully grown. About 600,000 of these crocodiles are farmed annually.

The Skin

Caiman skin is very different from other crocodile skin. Caiman skin has a very high bone content. In fact, it’s so high that you can see the bone pitting on the scales (which are medium to large sized). Additionally, the skin is much more rigid and harder to bend.

While most other crocodiles are cut almost exclusively for their premium belly skin, the caiman skin is often cut for its back. This cut is referred to as "hornback" because it has the protruding ridges that resemble small horns running down the center.

Using Caiman Crocodile Hide for Your Next Leather Project

The Caiman's leather has a relatively high bone content.Caiman is often used for leather projects on cowboy boots, structured handbags, small accessories, footwear and belts. Due to its fragile skin and bony nature, caiman skins are much more affordable than alligator or crocodile skins of the same size. This makes the caiman a superb alternative for companies with stricter budgets.

For more information on how to maximize your next assignment with this less expensive alternative to fancier hides, get in touch with us. We look forward to helping you select the perfect skin for your next project, so contact us for a FREE project consultation to get started!

Caiman Skin Guide

Topics: crocodile skin, caiman skin