Next to the insects on The RainForest lower level, steps lead the visitor down to a split-level, eye-to-eye view of a unique crocodilian, the gharial. The gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) is a unique species of crocodilian, characterized by its long, thin snout and the bulbous growth at the end of its snout. Gharials are the most aquatic of all crocodilians, spending most of their time in the water and coming out onto land only to lay eggs and bask in the sun. Once found in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Myanmar, gharials now exist in the wild in only a few small areas of India and Nepal. Recent surveys indicate there may be less than 200 mature breeding adults left in the wild. Gharials are listed as "Critically Endangered" in the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species.
Also in the exhibit are several endangered Asian turtle species such as the river terrapin/tuntong and the Malaysian painted river turtle. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is committed to turtle conservation worldwide.