False Gharial facts
The False Gharial (Tomistoma schlegelii) is a member belonging to the group of crocodilians, to which belong, crocodiles, alligators and the gharial or Indian gharial. Despite its name, this animal is closer to being a crocodile than a gharial, since some morphological characteristics make it belong to the family Crocodylidae.
The true gharial (gavialis gangeticus) is the only member of the family Gavialidae. He typically has a thin and elongated snout with many teeth, resembling a sword-fish and therefore became a specialist in hunting fish. False gharial has this name because of the similarity of its snout to the one of the true Gharial. The false gharial grows to a respectable size and may exceed 5 meters in length.
The geographical distribution of the false gharial is restricted to Indonesia and Malaysia, until recently occurred in Thailand and Vietnam, but now is considered extinct in these regions. This species frequents freshwater lakes, rivers and swamps, giving preference to still water or slow moving rivers.
False Gharial - Diet
His diet is based mainly on fish, but insects and small mammals are also part of their diet.
False Gharial - Reproduction
With regard to reproduction, as the sexual maturity depends on size, the female of the false gharial will only be ready to reproduce when it reaches about 2.5 meters long (8,2 ft). It spawns from 20 to 60 eggs which are incubated for a period 90 days, from which will hatch juveniles ready to face life alone.
Among crocodilians, this is one of the few species that has no parental care, so the juvenile are more susceptible the predators and few reach adulthood. Natural predators that hunt more hatchings are mammals such as wild pigs, tigers, leopards and other reptiles.
False Gharial - Conservation status and major threats
As an adult, the false gharial finds itself at the top of the food chain, having no natural predators. But due to the action of human beings, with habitat destruction and hunting for skin trading, the False gharial joined the list of endangered animals.
Currently there are conservation programs that are struggling to reverse this situation, trying to prevent another species from disappearing from the earth by human actions.
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