gavial It is a type of Asian crocodile water distinguished by its long, thin snout. Crocodiles are a group that includes crocodiles, alligators, and other species. They are one of the largest members of the crocodile family.

They look a lot like crocodiles and alligators, but they have a long, narrow snout, which reduces resistance to water and helps them hunt fish. Historically, they lived in only four river systems in the world, but are now extinct in many areas. It is now on the critically endangered species list.

The gharial is a type of crocodile characterized by its enormous snout.

The gharial is a type of crocodile characterized by its enormous snout.

Features

They have a typical crocodile shape, apart from their extremely long and narrow snouts. They are covered with smooth, non-overlapping scales. Adults are generally dark or light in color, and juveniles often have dark, mottled cross bands on the head, body, and tail. They have partially webbed fingers and toes. Like other crocodiles, they have a very thick and powerful tail, which is flattened on the sides ("laterally compressed").

The male gharial has a large, hollow swelling at the end of its snout, known as the "nasal boss." This only develops when you mature sexually. This swelling, and the larger body size of males, makes it easy to distinguish between males and females (i.e., sexual dimorphism), something that is rare among other crocodiles. The function of the nasal boss is not well understood, but it could be a visual indicator of sex, or it could be used as a sound resonator.

They can reach between 3 and 6 meters in length and weigh up to 250 kilos. Like other reptiles, they regulate their body temperature by basking in the sun to warm themselves or by resting in the shade or in the water to cool off.

Behavior

During hunting, its very narrow jaw allows you to catch fast-moving fish using extremely fast side-to-side motion. Like other crocodiles, they are cold-blooded (ectothermic). They are most likely to be seen on land when basking on sandbars or rocks, using the sun to warm themselves. They often bask in groups, but dominant individuals can defend a favorite spot.

Unlike other crocodiles, they have weak legs. When they are fully developed, they cannot raise their body above the ground on land and have to move by sliding on their stomachs. However, once in the water, they are extremely agile.

Habitat

They generally prefer freshwater rivers, clear and mighty, with deep pools and lots of fish. They also like sandbar habitats for nesting and sunbathing.

Distribution

They are found in small populations in only a few localities in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent.

Food

They do not stalk or attack their prey like other crocodiles: their snouts contain sensory cells that can detect vibrations in the water. By whipping their heads from side to side, the animals focus on the fish and grasp them in their jaws, which are lined with more than a hundred teeth.

Predators

The main predators of the gharial are humans, as they hunt them for entertainment and medicine, birds of prey and large snakes.

Reproduction

The gharial congregates to mate and nest during the dry season, when females lay their eggs on sandbars along slowly moving sections of water. The eggs are incubated for 70 days and the young remain with their mothers for several weeks or even months.

Males mature sexually around 13 years of age, which is when their nasal boss develops. Males call to their mates by swimming through their territory making hiss and buzzes, aided by the nasal boss. They can attract multiple males and form a harem within their territory, which they aggressively defend against other males.

They usually mate in December and January, and again in the dry season (March and April). They dig their nests using their hind legs, usually on a sandbar by the river. The nests are approximately 50 to 60 cm deep. The female lays between 20 and 100 eggs, which are the largest of all crocodile species, and takes between 71 and 93 days to hatch.

The female gharial dig up the young when they hear their hatching chirps, and care for the young for several days. They do not carry their young in their mouths like other crocodiles, presumably due to the sharpness of their teeth.

State of conservation

Once the gharial could be found from Pakistan to Myanmar (Burma), the reptile's range has been reduced to two countries: India, along the Chambal, Girwa and Son rivers; and Nepal, along the Narayani River.

Since the mid-98th century, the numbers have dropped to XNUMX percent due to hunting for traditional medicine and drastic changes to their freshwater habitats. For example, people have manipulated the flow of rivers, causing certain areas to dry out and making it more difficult for these water-dependent animals to survive.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies the species as Critically Endangered (ER).

Relationship with humans

The reasons why humans have conditioned the condition of this species is due to the loss of suitable river habitats (due to dams, dams, channels and the like), the depletion of the fish they feed on and the entanglement in fishing nets.

They have been killed by fishermen, hunted for their skins, and used as trophies and in alternative medicine. Hunting is no longer considered a threat, although its eggs are sometimes collected for food.

Popular culture

In tactical espionage video game Metal Gear Solid 3 is MGS3, you could camouflage yourself underwater using a gharial mask, causing the enemy soldiers to flee.

We can appreciate the gavial mask in MGS3

We can appreciate the gavial mask in MGS3

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