False Gharial/Tomistoma

False Gharial/Tomistoma Tomistoma schlegelii

Type of Animal:

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.

Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo, W Java. Formerly found in Singapore & peninsular Thailand.

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.

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:

Breeding in zoos, aquariums, wildlife parks, & breeding centers

Solitary or harems of a male w/ 1-4 females. Young animals sometimes found in small groups of their own.

Additional Info:

Male: Bull
Female: Cow
Young: Hatchling
Group: Float/Bask
Male: 418-550 lbs
Female: 200-205 lbs
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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