In recent months I have seen an increase in the number of people selling of exotic crocodiles on Facebook groups and Online Classified Sites. It is currently legal to keep any species of crocodile except for Nile Crocodiles which are protected in South Africa and are illegal to keep. I have listed some of the species that have been offered for sale.
Caimans are becoming very popular and are easy to find online or at reptile expos. Prices of Caimans are quite high a hatchling/juvenile can cost R5000-R15000. The dealer will inevitably say that he is selling a Dwarf Caiman that will grow to less than the size of an Iguana. I have even seen a Pet Shop Owner at a reptile expo state that the 60cm Caimans he had for sale were full size, there is no crocodile or caiman on the planet that grows to such a small size. There are several species of Caiman in Central and South America. Hatchlings of these species are difficult to tell apart from each other. Most Caimans for sale in South Africa are Spectacled Caimans. Spectacled Caimans grow to around 2m and are aggressive and dangerous reptiles.
West African Dwarf Crocodile ( Congo Croc)
I have seen West African Dwarf Crocodiles or Congo Crocs ( A subspecies of West African Dwarf Crocodile) for sale recently. These small crocodiles grow to a maximum length of 1.4m which makes them popular due to the fact they require a smaller cage. A 1.4m West African Dwarf Crocodile will still be able to bite your hand off so they still pose a danger to the keeper. West African Dwarf Crocodiles are protected and are listed as vulnerable and are listed under CITES appendix I. Animals listed under CITES I may not be traded making any West African Dwarf Crocodiles for sale illegal imports. A Nile Crocodile was recently sold to an unexpected buyer as a West African Dwarf Crocodile.
I saw hatchling Alligators at a recent reptile show. Alligators can reach a lenght of 4m and are easily capable of tearing a human apart. Hatchlings can be kept by anyone with a decent semi-aquatic cage setup. Once the hatchlings reach 60cm -90cm in length they will start to become unmanageable. I do not know of any private keeper who has the time, money and knowledge to keep an adult American Alligator.
Slender Snouted Crocodile
Slender Snouted Crocodiles come from centeral and West Africa. These crocodiles can grow to 3-4m and weight 125kg or more making these crocodiles a danger to their keepers. A Crocodile of this size can only be kept properly in a zoo or snake park and handled by trained professionals. This species should not be bought by private keepers as the animal will end up in a zoo or snake park once it cannot be housed or fed by its former owner.
Crocodiles are not suitable for the majority of reptile keepers
Rather get an Iguana or Monitor lizard if you want a large reptile