Gharial

Gharial

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Credit: AARON FERSTER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus). The gharial (or gavial) is a relative of crocodiles and alligators. It has a distinctive long snout with small, sharp teeth adapted for catching fish, which are its main prey item. In mature males, the snout has a bulbous growth at the tip. It is termed a ghara (Hindi for "pot"); the name gharial derives from this term. The function of the ghara is not certain, but it is thought to play a role in mating displays. Gharials are among the largest of the crocodilians, with males reaching 6 metres or more. They inhabit rivers in Southeast Asia, around the north of the Indian subcontinent. They are endangered by habitat loss and hunting.

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Keywords: animal, carnivore, carnivorous, crocodilia, endangered, fish-eater, fish-eating, freshwater, gavial, gavialidae, gavialis gangeticus, gharial, hunter, long-nosed, nature, piscivore, piscivorous, predator, rare, reptile, reptilia, riverine, snout, southeast asia, threatened, wildlife, zoology

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