The gharial (Gavialis gangeticus), also known as the gavial, and the fish-eating crocodile, is a crocodilian of the family Gavialidae, native to the northern part of Indian Subcontinent. The global gharial population is estimated at fewer than 235 individuals, which are threatened by loss of riverine habitat, depletion of fish resources, and entanglement in fishing nets. As the population has declined drastically in the past 70 years, the gharial is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN RED LIST.
The gharial is one of the longest of all living crocodilians, measuring up to 6.25 m (20.5 ft), though it should be noted that this is an extreme upper limit, as the average adult gharial is only 3.5 to 4.5 m (11 to 15 ft) in size. With 110 sharp, interdigitated teeth in its long, thin snout, it is well adapted to catching fish, its main diet. The male gharial has a distinctive boss at the end of the snout, which resembles an earthenware pot known in Hindi as ghara. The gharial's common name is derived from this similarity.
Gharials once inhabited all the major river systems of the Indian Subcontinent. Their distribution is now limited to only 2% of their former range. They inhabit foremost flowing rivers with high sand banks that they use for basking and building nests. They usually mate in the cold season. The young hatch before the onset of the monsoon.
The gharial is one of three crocodilians native to India, the other two being the mugger crocodile and the saltwater crocodile.
The gharial is characterised by its extremely long, thin jaws, which are regarded as an adaptation to a primarily fish diet. Males reach up to 6 m (20 ft) with an average weight of around 160 kg (350 lb).
I clicked this Gharial on 18th MAy, 2013 at Jim Corbett National Park from the High Bank and loved the composition in a different perspective.
Nikon | 600 mm | f/4 |ISO 320 | 1/2000 seconds | Hand Held