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Gharial

Gavialis gangeticus

Description:

This information is taken from Wikipedia. Gharial hatchlings are pale olive on the back and become darker with age. Dark cross-bands and speckles are visible on head, body and tail. Scutes on head, neck and back form a single continuous plate composed of 21 to 22 transverse series, and four longitudinal series. Scutes on the back are bony, but softer and feebly keeled on the sides. The outer edges of the forearms, legs, and feet are crested, and fingers and toes partly webbed. The gharial's belly is yellowish-white, its neck long and thick. There are two rows of ridges on the central region of the back. Male gharials develop a hollow bulbous nasal protuberance at the tip of the snout upon sexual maturity. This nasal growth starts growing over the nostrils at an age of 11.5 years and measures about 5 cm × 6 cm × 3.5 cm (2.0 in × 2.4 in × 1.4 in) at an age of 15.5 years, and enables the males to emit a hissing sound that can be heard at a distance of 75 m (246 ft). It resembles an earthen pot known locally as "ghara". The nasal growth is apparently used to indicate sexual maturity, as sound resonator when bubbling under water or other sexual behaviours. The gharial is the only living crocodilian with such visible sexual dimorphism. The gharial's snout is very long and narrow, with 27 to 29 upper and 25 or 26 lower teeth on each side. The front teeth are the largest. The first, second, and third mandibular teeth fit into notches in the upper jaw. The nasal bones are rather short and widely separated from the premaxilla. The nasal opening is smaller than the supratemporal fossae. The jugal bone is raised and the extremely long symphysis extends to the 23rd or 24th tooth. The snout is dilated at the end. It becomes proportionally thicker with age. This long snout is considered an adaptation to a primarily piscivorous diet. The long, needle-like teeth are individually socketed. The tail is well-developed and laterally flattened. Together with the webbed feet it provides tremendous manoeuvrability in deep water. On land, a gharial can only slide on its belly and push itself forward. The average size of mature gharials is 350–450 cm (140–180 in). Hatchlings range from 35–39.2 cm (13.8–15.4 in) in body length with a weight of 82–130 g (2.9–4.6 oz). Young gharials reach a length of 100 cm (39 in) in 18 months. Females grow up to a body length of 420 cm (170 in) and males more than 570 cm (220 in).[10] Adults weigh 160 kg (350 lb) on average. Photo taken at Chambal Wildlife Sanctuary, U.P. India

Habitat:

Major rivers in Northern Indian Subcontinent.

Notes:

Conservation status - Critically Endangered

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6 Comments

triggsturner
triggsturner a year ago

Great stuff Karan, congratulations.

Congratulations.

Brian38
Brian38 a year ago

Congratulations Karan!

DanielePralong
DanielePralong a year ago

Congratulations Karan, this spotting came first equal in a tied vote in our 2018 Best Wildlife Photo Competition, Reptiles category!

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Karan Raghwa
Karan Raghwa a year ago

Thanks Neil. I think CE status is due habitat loss

Neil Ross
Neil Ross a year ago

Such an interesting animal. Is the CE conservation status due to habitat loss, or poaching perhaps? Thanks for sharing this spotting, Karan.

Karan Raghwa
Spotted by
Karan Raghwa

Madhya Pradesh, India

Spotted on Dec 23, 2018
Submitted on Jan 12, 2019

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