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Gharial (Gavial)

By MSA 2005 Map showing rivers, deep ponds habitats in India, Nepal, Pakistan


Class Reptilia
Order: Crocodylia
Family: Gavialidae
Genus and species: Gavialus gangeticus

The gharial ('gary-el') is one of the largest crocodilian species, with males reaching 20 to 23 feet in length. Gharials have long, narrow snouts that contain up to 110 interlocking teeth.

A long snout and razor-sharp teeth are ideal for catching and eating fish, the bulk of the gharial's diet. Young gharials in particular enjoy invertebrate prey such as insects and small vertebrates such as frogs.

While gharials do not have the leg muscles to walk on the ground and prefer to 'belly-slide' instead, they are extremely agile in the water.

Females reach sexual maturity almost twice as fast as males. Following a two-month mating period, gharials nest for about three months during which time the females can deposit up to 60 eggs in a hole on the bank of a river or pond. At six ounces, gharial eggs are one of the largest of any crocodilian species.

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