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Gharials

Gharial

Physical Appearance
The Gharials are one of the longest crocodile. They have long snout and these species are average size of (12 to 15) feet in length. Males of these species are larger than the females. These Gharials can grow up to a size of 21 feet in length and can weigh up to 977 kilograms. They have narrow and elongated snout, which resembles to that of the false Gharial. A variation in the shape of their snout can be noticed as they grow older. The male's snout consists of a bulbous, which is known as "ghara". This helps the Gharial to produce a loud buzzing sound, which is used to attract the females during courtship. The Gharials have sharp razor like teeth, which are inter-locked. These crocodiles have 54 teeth on the upper jaw and 48 teeth on the lower jaw. They are very good swimmer and feel difficulty while walking on land as their legs does not support to raise high and walk.

Habitat and Behavior
The Gharials or Ghariyals are found in many countries like India, Bhutan, Burma, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal. These crocodiles are found mainly in the six rivers, they are: the Ganges, Kaladan, Irrawady, Mahanadi, Brahmaputra and Indus. They prefer fast-moving rivers and come near the sandy banks in order to sunbathe. These Gharials can be rarely seen on the land as their legs and body does not support locomotion on land.

Feeding Habits
There is a variation between the food behavior of the juvenile and the adult. The juvenile feed on small crustaceans, insects and frogs, whereas the adult feed mainly on marine fish. Their snout helps them while hunting on the fish. The snout resists water while catching the prey and the teeth helps them to hold the prey, so that it may not slip from their jaw. Some of the larger Gharials also feed on snakes, crabs, small mammals and birds.

Gharials Breeding and Reproduction
Gharials or Ghariyals acquire sexual maturity at the age of around 10 years and a length of 3 meter. The mating season of these species is between November to January. They make their nest in the March, April and May and lay their eggs in this nest. The females lay around (30 to 50) eggs and after laying these eggs, they cover it. The eggs of the Gharial weigh around 160 grams and are the largest among all the crocodilian species.

Conservation
The Gharials are in the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) red list of critically endangered species. A lot was done after 1970 to protect this species and increase its population, and the government had succeeded even in their effort. But, in 2007 these Gharials or Ghariyals again got listed in the IUCN red list.