Gharials Rule The Roost In Fresh Water Rivers In North India
Gharial is one of the largest reptiles found in the fast-flowing waters of the rivers in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent. Gharials measuring up to six meters or even more have been reported to have been found. They are known to live up to 30 years.
The awkward shape of gharials makes it a bit difficult for the animal to consume anything too big. So, although they have been known to be quite aggressive when faced with humans, there have not been any instances of gharials eating humans. Crocodiles have been known to eat and devour humans though.
It usually positions itself in the calm parts of rivers It claims close affinity with other reptiles including caimans and alligators. Its closest relative is believed to be the crocodile found in salt water.
The gharial has miserably short legs pushing it out of the domain of land animals. It spends most of its life in water. It finds quite a lot of fish here. It has a long snout that makes it the perfect weapon to hunt fish in rivers. A gharial's snout has about 50 teeth.
Gharials are largely carnivorous animals. They are fond of eating fish and small animals. It is the dominant predator in its environment. It has no natural enemy except for man who has hunted gharials for its skin and meat. Due to indiscriminate hunting and killing of gharials, they have become an endangered species.
The female gharial lays 30-50 eggs in one go in nests she digs up in the sand. She covers up the nests with the eggs soon after this. This is done in the summer season when the river bed dries up leaving the river banks exposed and open.