Male Indian gharial in water with mouth wide open


Gharials are once again on the verge of extinction in the wild. After 30 years of conservation effort and restocking, there may still be fewer than 200 breeding adults left in the wild. Gharials are officially extinct from everywhere except a few small isolated populations in India and Nepal. Males have bulbous tips, shaped much like Indian 'ghara' pots, on the end of their unusually long, narrow snouts. This low-profile snout is filled with interlocking razor-sharp teeth, that are perfect for catching fish underwater. Gharials are one of the largest and most aquatic members of the crocodile family.

Scientific name: Gavialis gangeticus

Rank: Species

Common names:

  • Gavial,
  • Indian gharial

Watch video clips from past programmes (1 clip)

In order to see this content you need to have an up-to-date version of Flash installed and Javascript turned on.


The Gharial can be found in a number of locations including: Asia, Indian subcontinent. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Gharial distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Rivers and streams Rivers and streams
Rivers and streams, burns, brooks and springs – the names are varied but the flora and fauna all have to cope with the same thing: water that flows continuously in one direction. If you live here you need a way to avoid being washed downstream and ultimately into the sea.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

BBC News about Gharial

  • Mystery of crocs' mass die-off Measuring up to 6m long, with elongated narrow snouts, gharials are one of the world's most distinctive-looking crocodilians.

Video collections

Take a trip through the natural world with our themed collections of video clips from the natural history archive.

  • Going, going, gone Going, going, gone

    One third of known species are under threat - do they have more than a future on film? We've unearthed footage of some remarkable animals, plants and habitats that are facing an imminent threat to their survival.