Gharial – Fish Eating Crocodile

Fish_Eating_Crocodile 2Conservation status: CRITICALLY ENDANGERED
Common name:  gharial, gavial, and fish-eating crocodile
Scientific name: Gavialis gangeticus
Type: reptile
Diet: insects, crustaceans, frogs, and fish
Length: 350 – 450 cm
Weight: 160 kg

Gharials are one of the longest crocodilians (a male reaching 655 cm was killed in 1920) and their name is derived from Hindi word ghara. A grown male of this species has a bulbous knob behind his nose and is often referred to the ghara or gharal which is a round earthenware pot.  Their 110 sharp interdigitated teeth in its long, thin snout facilitate catch of fish, their main diet, and that is why Gharials are also called fish eating crocodiles.

They were once easily found in all the major river systems of the northern Indian subcontinent to Myanmar. However, the population rapidly decreased to only 2% of its historical range in the 1930, and fewer than 200 individuals were estimated to survive.  The loss of riverine habitat (caused by creation of dams, barrages, irrigation canals), depletion of fish resources, and entanglement in fishing (use of gill nets that drowns them) is believed to be the reason for such decline.




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