Gharials and Crocodiles

Friday, 2 July 2010 00:13 by RanjanBanerji

In the past year I ended up making two trips to India. One trip (last October) was to the National Chambal River Sanctuary (not too far from Agra, Taj Mahal) and the other (December) was to Corbett National Park (about a 6 hour drive from New Delhi). Both the trips gave me an opportunity to see Gharials and Crocodiles. The Indian crocodile is not as large as ones you see in Africa or Australia, or at least I have never seen large ones in India.

Gharials (Gavialis gangeticus) are a strange looking crocodilian. They have a thin long nose, almost like a beak, except the fact that they have very sharp teeth. Mostly fish eaters and rarely a danger to people. The male gharial has two ball like structures at the tip of its nose, hence the name Gharial (a round clay pot in Hindi).

 

Gharial

 

Gharials have even managed to influence architecture it seems.  Close to the National Chambal River Sanctuary is the Ater Fort. 

 

Ater Fort

Ater Fort

 

Gharial Gargoyle at Ater Fort

Gharial Gargoyle at Ater Fort

The Chambal river is also home to crocodiles, though I just managed to see one.  Taking pictures when on a boat that keeps rocking is not all that easy.  As you can see, the crocodile is not very large.

 

The trip to Corbett National Park yielded a lot more crocodiles and gharials.  Since I was not in a boat the pictures turned out better except for the fact that I was not as close to the animals as I was at Chambal.

Bunch of Gharials.  Notice the nose of the one on the right.

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