Crocodile with Long Snout (Gharial)

gharial | long nose alligator

Gharials are the largest member of the crocodilian family, though they look similar to crocodiles and alligators; still, they are distinct from them. They can be identified by their long and narrow snout, which reduced their struggle against water. Gharials are named after a traditional Indian pot, which means ‘Ghara’ in Hindi. 

Gharial Scientific Name:

The binomial name of gharial is Gavialis gangeticus.

Where do Gharials Live?

Gharials prefer to live in the clear, freshwater where enormous fishes are available. They like to inherit near sand-backs to lounge in the sun and nest. Previously the species were inhabited in the rivers of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Pakistan. Currently, their disintegrated population is residing in the water bodies of Nepal and India. Gharials can be found in the Indian rivers of Ganga, Mahanadi and Chambal.

Long Nose Alligator (Gharial)

Gharials demonstrate a dimorphism, where the male and female of the same species carry different features. The male gharial grows to a length of 16-20 feet, and the female grows up to 11-15 feet. The average weight of an adult gharial is 2200 pounds. At the end of the snout, the male has a significant curved swelling, which is known as “nasal boss,” which acts as a vocal echo, buzzing sound, and an indicator towards the female gharial. The body of a gharial is covered with smooth, non-overlying scales. Adults gharial have dark or light olive color, and the young have cross bands on their heads, tail, and body. The diet of an adult gharial includes large fishes and shellfish; young gharial feeds on small fish, tadpoles, insects, and frogs. Rather than chewing their food, gharials swallow it. There are around 110 sharp and interlinked teeth of a gharial. Gharials have weak legs, and they are not able to lift their body when on ground gharials move by sliding on their bellies, and in water, they move quickly. 

More About Gharial:

Gharials mate during December and January, and in the dry season of March and April, female incubates in 71 to 93 days and lay 20-100 eggs, which are the largest among any crocodilian species. Gharials dig their nests using the back feet; the depth of the nest is around 20-24 inches.

Difference between Crocodile and Gharial:

  • Gharials are inhabited only around India, whereas crocodiles are found in wide spreads, including Australia.
  • Gharials are bigger than freshwater crocodiles and are smaller than saltwater crocodiles.
  • Crocodiles have strong muscles in jaws to give good bits, whereas gharials have thin jaws, so they cannot bite.
  • Crocodiles have a broad, sharp snout, and gharials have a long and thin nose.
  • Male gharials have a curved growth on the tip of their nose, whereas male crocodile does not have such growth.
  • Some crocodiles can kill a human being, but gharials are not man killers.
  • With the help of their limbs, crocodiles can walk on the ground, but gharials move by sliding on their bellies.
  • Crocodiles hunt on large prey by fully opening their mouth; on the other side, gharials cannot fully open their jaw, so they hunt on small prey.
  • Gharials prefer to live in the freshwater bodies only, whereas crocodiles inherit in both fresh and saltwater bodies.
  • The gharial is the fastest mammal in the whole crocodilian family than any other member.

Gharial Lifespan:

The average lifespan of a gharial is 40 to 60 years.

Gharial Endangered:

The gharial is listed as the critically endangered species; their primary threats include habitat loss by human enhancements. The decreasing population of fishes is also the cause of their depletion as they feed mostly on fishes. Due to the growing community, humans are disturbing the habitat of animals by diverting the river for irrigation and development. The gharial is hunted for their skin, which is used as trophies, the gharial eggs are gathered for medicinal purposes.

Gharial Conservation:

The government of India granted full protection to these species to control their hunting and poaching. Several conservation groups initiated breeding and reproduction programs in India and Nepal.

How many Gharials are Left in the World?

In the year 2017, the population of Gharial was estimated globally at a maximum of 900 individuals, which includes 500 mature adults.
In the year 2017, the population of Gharial was estimated globally at a maximum of 900 individuals, which includes 500 mature adults.