GHARIAL, AN ENDANGERED CROCODILE


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Gharials  (Ghaviali Gangeticus) are large-sized reptiles that are found in Northern India and Nepal.It’s one of the longest ( including the sea-water crocodile ) crocodilians, measuring up to 6 m long and weighting up to 680 kg.This reptile is a threatened species,with an estimated population of only 1200 individuals in Northern India and 100 in Nepal.They  don’t have natural predators due to its size, except human beings, which hunt them for their valuable skin.They also face threats due to pollution of the water,destruction or intense human pressure on their habitat.Their eggs are stolen for consumption while many young individuals die every year by getting trapped in fishermen’s nets.

Fish is the main diet of Gharials, along with insects and other small animals.The snout of the gharial is very unmistakable, being the thinnest and most elongated among all crocodilians.Males sport a large bulb on the tip of their snout,called the ghara.The gharials are usually found in calm areas of deep and fast-flowing rivers and sandy banks.They remain most of the time into the water, being the most aquatic of all the crocodilians, never moving far from water.They can share their habitat with mugger and seawater crocodiles.

In Nepal there are small populations in Chitwan and Bardia National Park.I took the picture on the top of the post in Chitwan National Park.You can appreciate the elongated snout, very well adapted for its fish diet.

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