gangeticus

I am starting a new project something that has always fascinated me are scientific charts. So I am going to start making them…some truth, some elaboration, but that’s what the masters did too.

Illustration of a Gharial,(Gavialis gangeticus) a rare freshwater crocodile that inhabits only two rivers in Nepal and India. These crocs are going extinct and it’s a shame, hence the precious egg emphasized. They don’t breed well in captivity and happen to be the only croc with a visible sexual dimorphism.Look at that nose! 

More to come!

Gavial by PerAnd1 on Flickr.

The Gharial is undoubtedly the most bizarre looking crocodilian. Its very long, very slender snout is adapted to catch fish, as are the interlocking, needle-like teeth. Gharials are possibly the most aquatic of all crocodilians, and they have very short and weak legs; they actually only leave water to bask in the sun and to lay their eggs. This crocodilian is found in India and Nepal, and is among the largest members of the group, reaching 7 meters (23′) in length. Despite their huge size, they are usually harmless to humans; however, they can bite in self defense if provoked. Gharials get their name from the protuberance in the adult male’s snout, which is called a ghara. Gharials use the ghara to produce a sound which is supposed to attract potential mates.

It seems that males also use their ghara to produce bubbles with the same purpose. Some prehistoric crocodilians such as the enormous, dinosaur-eating Sarcosuchus also had a ghara. Who knows what amazing sounds they may have produced! Gharials are, themselves, the last survivors (along with false gharials) of a crocodilian group that was once widely distributed and diverse; remains of gharials and gharial-like crocodilians have been found even in South America! Unfortunately, the survival of the Gharial is, as usual, threatened by the advance of “civilization” and the loss of habitat. There are around 1500 gharials living in the wild nowadays, and the population seems to be declining due to water pollution with heavy metals.

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