Why are Gharials an Endangered Species

So in my opinion this animal looks quite scary and reminds me more of a prehistoric animal than a species that lives today.

The name of this type of crocodile goes from Gharial, Gavial to fish-eating crocodile, which is primarily native to the north of India. The name Gharial is partly derived from the Indian. The bulbous mound on a male's snout is called Ghara, which translated means pot.

In fact, the gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) is the only living species in the genus Gavialis. It is the crocodile with the narrowest snout of all. The species is considered critically endangered because there are only around 235 animals left. That is why they are also part of the Red List.


The gharial's teeth are offset but interlock when the muzzle is closed.


With a length of up to 6.5 meters, they are among the largest living crocodiles. However, such large specimens are very rare today. The standard size is 3.5 to 4.5 meters. Its 110 teeth are sharp and in combination with the long, narrow snout they are ideal for fishing, the animal's main food. They catch fish by hitting the water with their head sideways and their prey virtually swims into their throats. They don't chew their prey but swallow it whole. They are quick hunters because their flattened, powerful oar tail comes to their aid in the water.

The Ghariale are considered to be sexual dimorphic - for explanation - sexual dimorphism means that males and females can not only be distinguished by their sexual organs, but also by characteristics such as size and color. Like other crocodiles, the animals are cold-blooded and need the sun to warm up and the water to cool down. Unlike their relatives, however, they are unable to walk on land because their legs are too weak to support an average weight of 160 kilograms. So they move on land "crawling" forward.

A Gharial cub


The mating season of the Ghariale is between January and December. The warmer months are the time to lay eggs. Males are fully grown at around 13 years of age when the ghara, the swelling on the snout, forms. Females show their willingness to mate with a raised snout. The mating partners are defended very aggressively. After fertilization, the female lays between 25 and 90 eggs in a previously dug hole about 1 to 5 meters from the water. At around 160 grams, they are the heaviest crocodile eggs. The young hatch after 71 to 93 days. To get into the water, they cannot hope for the help of their mothers - they are on their own.


As mentioned above, the Ghardiale are almost threatened with extinction and have been part of the Red List since 2007. The reasons for this are varied, they were hunted for their skin and various body parts that are used in natural medicine. Their eggs are considered a delicacy and many fishermen see them as competitors in fish hunting.


According to cautious estimates, the populations of the animals should have shrunk by up to 98 percent in just 60 years, a result that makes the future of these already rare animals look very bleak.

Image sources:

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gangesgavial#/media/File:Indian_Gharial_Crocodile_Digon3.JPG

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gharial#/media/File:Baby_Gharial.jpg

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gharial#/media/File:Indian_Gharial_at_the_San_Diego_Zoo_(2006-01-03)_(headshot).jpg