Gharial Facts

Gharial Facts
Gharial, also known as gavial, is large reptile that belongs to the family Gavialidae. It can be found in the fast-flowing rivers in the northern parts of the Indian subcontinent. Gharial was once numerous and widespread in the wild, and today it is restricted to only 2% of its historic range. Aside from habitat loss due to construction of dams and artificial embankments, gharial is also threatened by increased fishing activities, hunting, collecting of eggs and lack of food. With 235 animals left in the wild, gharial is classified as critically endangered.
Interesting Gharial Facts:
Gharial can reach 11 to 15 (up to 20.5) feet in length and 351 to 551 pounds of weight.
Gharial has dark or light olive-colored back with dark cross-bends on the head, body and tail. Ventral side of the body is yellowish white.
Gharial has elongated, narrow snout filled with 106 to 110 very sharp teeth. It has elongated, thick neck, webbed hind feet and long, laterally compressed tail.
Mature males have bulbous growth on the snout, which looks like Indian pot called "ghara"(hence the name "gharial"). This structure facilitates production of loud buzzing and hissing noise and attracts females during the mating season.
Gharial spends most of its time in the water. It leaves the water only to bask and lay eggs on the sandy riverbanks.
Gharial has very short, poorly developed legs that are not able to carry the body weight, but they can easily push the body forward. Gharial also moves by gliding on the belly.
Gharial is a carnivore. Adults hunt and eat fish, while immature gharials mostly consume insects and frogs.
Gharial silently sits and waits for its prey to approach close enough before it grabs it quickly with its long snout.
Gharial is solitary animal.
Mating season of gharials takes place during December and January.
Males are territorial and aggressive during the mating season. Males and females rub each other head and snout as a part of courtship.
Female digs hole in the sand and lays 20 to 95 eggs per season. She covers the eggs with sand to hide them from predators such as jackals, lizards and mongooses. Female guards the nest throughout the entire period of incubation.
Eggs are much larger and heavier (around 6 ounces each) compared with eggs of other crocodilians. Incubation period lasts 71 to 93 days. Hatchlings produce calls to inform mother that they are ready to hatch. Mother excavates the nest and assists hatchlings to reach the water for the first time. Young gharials stay with their mother during the first few weeks or few months of their life.
Gharials reach sexual maturity late in life: females at the age of 7 to 10 years, males at the age of 13 to 15 years.
Gharial has an average lifespan of 40 to 60 years.

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