False Gharial

Tomistoma schlegelii

A cosy nest

The perfect temperature for hatching false gharial eggs is 30°C. Females lay 20 to 60 eggs in hollows in the earth and cover them with vegetation. As the vegetation decays, it generates heat to keep the eggs cosy and warm – even at night. The young hatch after about three months. False gharials lay the largest eggs of all crocodilians (approx. 10 cm long and 7.5 cm wide).


  • Origin

    Southeast Asia: Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Borneo

  • Habitat

    Peat bog forests: Rivers, lakes and ponds

  • Diet

    Fish, mammals, amphibians, reptiles

  • Status


  • Size

    Body length: up to 6 m

  • Weight

    90 to 200 kg

  • Breeding period

    90 days

  • Achievable age

    up to 70 years

Threat Categories of IUCN

In a while, crocodile?

The Crocodilia order is divided into three families: true crocodiles, alligators, and gharials. They primarily differ in size and the shape of their skull. This reptile is known as a “false gharial” because scientists previously disagreed on whether it was a crocodile (Crocodylidae) or gharial (Gavialidae). This question is still not conclusively clarified, but currently the False Gharial is counted among the family of the true crocodiles.

Did you know?

The sex of the young is determined by the incubation temperature.
False gharials can grow up to five metres long.

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