Skip to content
Cold-Blooded Cruelty

The Exotic-Skins Trade

close up of crocodile flank

They Just Want to Live in Peace.

alligator in the wild
Mother crocodiles and alligators are fiercely protective of their babies, and hatchling alligators generally stay together in a “pod” for one to three years. In captivity, these animals are denied the opportunity to experience the joy of the mother-child bond: They’re condemned to a living hell.
photo of asian water monitor lizard resting peacefully on a lush water embankment
Lizards are as beautiful as they are varied. They possess astonishing abilities, like running on water and changing color—and they all just want to be left alone to enjoy their lives, which can last up to 30 years in nature. Exotic-skins dealers typically snatch lizards from their homes before painfully killing them for their skin.
Python in the grass at a reserve in Africa
In nature, snakes like to spend their time alone and enjoy sunning themselves. They don’t seek out or attack humans and have more reasons to fear us than we do them. Snakes used by the fashion industry are violently torn from their homes—pythons are often hunted down deep in the jungles of Indonesia and Malaysia—by those looking to make quick money or raised in small, barren enclosures that prevent them from engaging in their natural behavior.
ostrich in Nairobi Kenya national park
In nature, ostriches share parental duties. Young birds stay with their parents for up to three years, learning about the world around them, but on factory farms, they don’t even get to meet their parents. Although ostriches can live more than 40 years, those raised and killed in the exotic-skins industry are typically slaughtered when they’re just 1 year old.

Investigators Tracked Down Exotic-Skins Producers Worldwide—Here’s What They Found

Workers at snake-killing operations use air or water to inflate the reptiles to death—which makes it easier to rip their skin off. Stunning, which is meant to render them unconscious, is often done improperly, causing them to endure unbearable pain as they’re skinned alive.

Workers callously cut snakes open from one end to the other. Because of their slow metabolism, it can take weeks, doubtlessly filled with agony, for them to die.

Crocodile and alligator farmers imprison these animals in filthy, barren enclosures from birth to slaughter. Workers deny them their basic necessities, such as clean water and veterinary care, and the freedom they would enjoy in nature.

A PETA investigator found alligators still moving in an ice bath after workers had attempted to slaughter them—meaning they may have been alive, in excruciating pain, drowning, or dying of hypothermia.

A PETA Asia investigator documented workers electroshocking crocodiles—even though there’s no good evidence that this renders them insensitive to stress or pain—then attempting to kill them by cutting into their necks and ramming metal rods down their spines.

In Indonesia, PETA Asia discovered that workers tied captive lizards’ legs together and then hit the struggling animals and beheaded them—a process that involved hacking their heads off with up to 14 strikes of a machete—without even rendering them unconscious first.

When PETA investigators tracked down the largest ostrich-skin supplier in the world, they found it was a hellhole. Workers were caught abusing terrified ostriches from transport to slaughter. Once they had forced the birds inside the slaughterhouse, they forcibly restrained each one, electrically stunned them, and then cut their throats in full view of their flockmates.

The Tide Is Turning

As we continue to expose the inherent cruelty of the exotic-skins trade, the fashion community is starting to take a stance against it. Helsinki Fashion Week, Melbourne Fashion Week, and Stockholm Fashion Week have all banned exotic skins from their runways—and that’s just the beginning.

close up of crocodile face, eye contact with viewer

Pledge to Reject Exotic Skins

Together, we can keep the momentum going and topple this abusive industry. By signing the pledge below and encouraging your friends and family to do so as well, you can help crocodiles, lizards, snakes, and other wildlife killed for fashion:

The Exotic-Skins Trade: Cold-Blooded Cruelty

Sign Our Pledge!
Pledge to Reject Exotic Skins
Every animal is someone. Crocodiles, alligators, lizards, snakes, ostriches, and other animals deserve to keep their skin, and wearing it condones stealing and horrific cruelty. By signing my name, I’m rejecting the slaughter of wildlife for their skin and pledging never to buy or wear it.
All fields in bold are mandatory.
Get texts & occasional phone calls for Action Alerts, local events, & other updates to help animals with PETA! (optional)
  By clicking, you agree to receive automated texts and calls from PETA and accept our terms and conditions. Message and data rates may apply. U.S. mobile users only. You can opt-out anytime.
View Message +

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.

Take Action Now!