False Gharial/Tomistoma

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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