The Gavial or Gharial, scientifically known as Gavialis gangeticus, is one of the three crocodilians found in India. It is known to be the only surviving member of the family Gavialidae. Typical and unique characteristic of Gavial is its long and slender snout. Although found in many countries, it is close to extinction in most (in India and Nepal it is reasonably safe). Their habitat consists of major river systems, like the Ganges, Indus, Brahmaputra, Mahanadi, and Irrawaddy. Preferring only clear and running waters, they come to the land for sunbathe. Hibernation is seen to be in the bottom of the winters, when the water is warm.
Gharials, having a long snout, are one of the longest of the crocodilians. The average length of an adult is 12.25-15.5 ft (3.6-4.5 m), males being larger than females. Females reach lengths of 3.9 m, while males reach lengths of 6 m. The majority of them do not grow past 680 kg, maximum of which is marked as 1000 kg. As per the appearance is concerned, the long snout is tipped with a large, bulbous mass (known as the ghara); especially in males. This structure is thought to attract females and produce bubbles during courtship. The nostril in males is located in this ghara. The eyes are located on the upper side of the head. The jaws are full of teeth (54 on upper jaw and 48 in lower jaw), and teeth are interlocking and are uniform in size.
Young gharials feed mainly on insects and small crustaceans, and frogs. Due to the thin snout cattle fish is the major diet of all adult gharials. The gharial is a rare species and today they are protected in 9 sites in India. IUCN has included this species in the list of critically endangered species. In 1975 there were fewer than 70 gharials left, and now there are 1500 in the wild in India.