Conservation status: CRITICALLY ENDANGERED
Common name: Gharial, Gavial, and Fish-eating crocodile
Scientific name: Gavialis gangeticus
Diet: Fish (small frogs and insects when young)
Length: 3 – 5 meters (male); 2.7 – 3.8 meters (female)
Weight: 160 – 250 kg
With their distinct snouts that resemble earthenware pots known as “ghara” in Hindi, gharials are probably one of the most easily recognizable reptiles. However, these aquatic lizards now face the danger of extinction with only fragmented populations remaining in India and Nepal.
The Gharial’s IUCN Red List status was changed from endangered to critically endangered in 2007 as the population had halved in the span of five years. While efforts to save the species continue (like captive breeding programs), it is difficult to guarantee the success of such efforts as proper monitoring of the species is difficult and most released Gharials born in captivity are known to die.