False Gharial (Malayan Gharial)
The False Gharial or Malayan Gharial, Tomistoma schlegelii, is a fresh-water reptile, resembling a crocodile. This animal is native to six river systems in Sumatra and Malaysia. It is also found in Borneo, Java, Vietnam, Thailand and possibly Sulawesi. In Thailand, the Gharial has not been seen since 1970. There have also been fossils found in Southern China that indicate it once survived there as well.
The female Gharial usually matures at 17-118 inches in length . The
False Gharial, like all other crocodilian species, lays eggs. However, due to lack of knowledge of its habits in the wild it is unknown when this species breeds and nests. It is a mound nester. The female lays a clutch of about 30-60 eggs in a mound of dry leaves or peat. Unlike other crocodilian species, the young receive no parental care and are at risk of being eaten by predators like wild boar, mongooses, big cats and wild dos.
The False Gharial is threatened with extinction throughout most of its range due to the drainage of its freshwater swamplands and clearance of surrounding rainforests. The species is also hunted frequently for its skin and meat and the eggs are often harvested for human consumption.
However positive steps have been taken by the Malaysian and Indonesian governments to prevent its extinction in the wild.