Gharial crocodile counts amongst the largest crocodile species in the world. It is also one of two surviving members of the Gavialidae family. Ghavial Crocodiles of India have an elongated and narrow snout, which becomes thinner with age. There is a bulbous growth on the tip of an adult male's snout, known as 'ghara'. The length of a Gharial crocodile is somewhere around 5 to 6 meters. It has long and narrow jaws, which are razor-sharp.
Gharial crocodiles inhabit the calmer areas of the deep, fast moving
Indian rivers. They do not move much on land and come outside water
either to bask in the sun or to nest on the sandbanks of the rivers.
The geographical range of the Gharial crocodile covers the countries of
India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan. It used to inhabit Bhutan and
Myanmar at one point of time, but is believed to have become almost
extinct in these countries today. Gharial Crocodile is mainly found in
the river systems of Indus, Brahmaputra, Ganges, Mahanadi, Kaladan and
Adult gharials survive on a diet comprising mainly of fish. The young
crocodiles, however, eat small invertebrates such as insects and larvae,
along with small frogs. Some Gharial crocodiles have been known to eat
dead animals also.
The mating season of the Gharial Crocodile stretches on from November
to January and the nesting takes place in the months of March to May.
The clutch size ranges between 30 to 50 eggs, which are deposited by the
female into a hole in the ground. The eggs hatch after a period of
approximately 90 days.
The decade of 1970s saw the population of the Ghavial Crocodiles of
India declining at a fast pace, taking the reptile to the brink of
extinction. However, conservation efforts of the Indian
environmentalists and the Indian government have led to a drastic
improvement in the situation. Today, there are around are 9 protected
areas in India for Gharial crocodiles, where both captive breeding and
ranching operations are carried out.
Facts about Indian Gharial Crocodile