ANIMAL: False Gharial/Tomistoma Tomistoma schlegelii Type of Animal: Crocodilian Habitat: Rivers, swamps (especially peat swamps), lakes, lowland swamp forest, marshes, bogs, ponds, streams (especially blackwater streams), flooded forest, secondary forest, river channels/banks, prefer more acidic, slow-moving muddy water, rainforest/moist forest, temporary pools, freshwater estuaries, primary a tropical/subtropical lowland species, exclusively a freshwater species. Location(s): Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo, W Java. Formerly found in Singapore & peninsular Thailand. Appearance: Very long slender snout, dark reddish-brown above w/ dark brown or black spots & cross-bands on back & tail, cream-colored to white belly, juveniles mottled w/ black on sides of jaws/body/tail, looks similar to gharial of India. Food/Diet: Fish, mammals up to size of cattle, birds, snakes, lizards (including monitor lizards), turtles, younger crocodilians of own species, invertebrates, amphibians. Rare instances of predation on humans. Status in Wild: Endangered Conservation: Breeding in zoos, aquariums, wildlife parks, & breeding centers Lifestyle: Solitary or harems of a male w/ 1-4 females. Young animals sometimes found in small groups of their own. Additional Info: Called: Male: Bull Female: Cow Young: Hatchling Group: Float/Bask Weight: Male: 418-550 lbs Female: 200-205 lbs Gestation: 3 months Life Span: 50-80 years Body Length: Male: 11.10-16 ft Female: 8-10.9 ft Young: 4-5 ft Tail Length: Male: 5 ft Female: 4 ft Main predators of adults are tigers & leopards (latter rarely eaten by large adults). Larger saltwater crocs will take sub-adults. Young preyed on by canids, crocodilians (including own species), mongooses, pigs, monitor lizards, snakes, turtles, civets, predatory ants, & predatory termites. Also called Malayan Gharial, False Gavial, Sunda Gharial, & Sunda Crocodile. They’re very shy & elusive in wild. There’s dispute on what extant crocodilian is closest living relative, w/ some scientists saying it’s the gharial of Indian subcontinent & others saying it’s one of the crocodiles. Endangered due to hunting for meat/skin/eggs, habitat loss, logging, forest fires, agriculture, habitat drainage, dam/dyke construction, killing out of fear, & drowning/capture in fishing gear. Unlike most other crocodilians, young receive no parental care. Females usually build mounds for nesting. Sexually mature at around 15-20 years old. It’s possible they compete w/ Siamese & Saltwater Crocodiles in parts of their range. Fun Fact(s): Tomistoma means “sharp mouth” in Greek. Once thought to be non-dangerous to humans because of fairly slender snout. While favorite prey tends to be fish, they’re opportunistic like all crocodilians except for Gharial (which is a fish specialist though does take other prey).
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