The Gharial or Gavial is a rare animal that does not go unnoticed because it has a unique morphology and characteristics that as we discover it impresses us more than the previous one.
Characteristics of the Gharial Alligator
The Gavial is a rare species of reptile, whose scientific name is Gavialis gangeticus. It belongs to the genus Gavialis and to the small family Gavialidae.
One of the characteristics that make it one of the rarest reptiles in the world is its curious snout that has a flattened appearance, long and thin, and has a bulge at the end of it.
A very easy way to differentiate the male from the female is by the cartilaginous cap it has at the end of its snout. It is called “ghara”, and grows during the reproductive period.
A curious fact that we should know and would not expect from this animal, is that as time passes its snouts become shorter and thinner.
The appearance of its body resembles that of any crocodile but with a peculiar cylindrical shape, despite this, its extremities have a smaller size to which we are accustomed to see in these reptiles
Most of these rare reptiles are large in size, with males measuring up to 5 meters, while females have been recorded at 3.75 m in length.
As for their weight, we have that the Gavial can reach 160 to 250 kilograms.
On the other hand, it has large and impressive eyes and small nostrils through which it emits strong whistles.
These reptiles have about 110 sharp teeth and a long, flattened tail.
How is his behavior? Is he aggressive?
About their behavior we can say that they are of calm temperament, they usually spend most of their lives alone, although they do not close themselves to the possibility of coexisting with other specimens of their species.
The Gharial Crocodile has excellent swimming skills but its movements on land are clumsy.
It is not yet known exactly how long these animals can live but it is thought that like many species of its family its longevity is 50 years.
Where can you find the Gharial Alligator?
This rare aquatic reptile develops its swimming activities in fresh waters, where the currents are fast but it also adapts to deep and calm waters.
Therefore it is very common to find the Gharial inhabiting swampy areas or torrential tributaries.
The Gavial is native to the Asian continent, and is geographically distributed along the waters of areas such as: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Pakistan, India, Burma and Nepal.
We must take into account that this rare animal owes its name to one of the largest and most important rivers of the Indian subcontinent: the Ganges, but its habitat is not limited to this area, it also navigates through the Indus, Brahmaputra, Mahanadi rivers, among others.
What does the Gavial Crocodile feed on?
The diet of this species changes over time.
At an early age, it looks for small animals that satisfy its needs and are easy to catch and eat. Among them are larvae, insects, crustaceans and frogs.
But, as they age, the morphology of their snout changes becoming thinner and more fragile, which makes their diet limited to only eating fish.
The Gavial Alligator has several ways of catching its prey. One of the most common is to dive into the water and remain motionless until its victim is close enough to be caught with surprising agility.
How the Gharial is reproduced?
In the breeding season the males emit a sound through the gharial that serves to attract the females during courtship.
When they find their mate they start to rub their snouts together, until the female accepts the mating by raising her head to the sky. This is a signal that will give the male permission to start mating.
Once mating is complete, the females deposit between 30 and 60 eggs in nests built on the sandy shores, where they will remain for more than 50 days protecting their eggs from any predator that might stalk them.
During incubation, temperature plays a determining role, as the sex of the brood will depend on it.