India, Nepal, Pakistan
Fast rivers with deep pools and sandy or muddy banks
Wild: Invertebrates, frogs, fish
Incubation: 60-90 days
Clutch: 35-60 eggs
One of the longest crocodilians. Adult males can reach 16 to 20 feet. Females are smaller, reaching 13 feet. Weight averages 200 to 500 lbs., but can be up to 1,000 lbs. Gharials have slender, elongated snouts. In mature males the snout is tipped with a large bulbous mass known as the ghara, after the Indian word for “pot”, which it resembles. The ghara’s function is not known, but is thought to produce a loud buzzing noise when vocalizing to attract females. The jaws are equipped with sharp pointed teeth. The hide is tough, and is sought after by hunters. They are the most aquatic member of the order, and leave the water only to bask or nest, usually on a sandy river bank. They spend much of the time lying just under the surface of the water, with only the eyes and nostrils exposed. Despite their enormous size, they tend to avoid rather than attack people. Females reach sexual maturity at about 9 feet in length, and usually over 10 years of age. Males guard a harem of several females. Gharial eggs are the largest for any crocodilian species, weighing on average 5.6 ounces.
Gharial Conservation Alliance
Where in the Zoo?
I can be found in the Gharial Crocodile Exhibit at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.