False Gharial

False gharial at Paignton Zoo, Devon

Class: Reptiles
Order: Crocodilia
Family: Gavialidae
False gharials are found in a variety of habitats throughout their range of South East Asia, including lowland freshwater swamp forests, flooded forests, peat swamps, lakes, and blackwater streams and rivers. 

This species is an opportunistic carnivore, and eats a varied diet of fish, amphibians, insects, shrimp, small deer and small monkeys.


This species used to be found in Thailand, but has now been extinct there since 1970. There is estimated to be less than 2,500 individuals remaining in the wild but data is unclear. Threats are habitat loss (farming and illegal logging), dams, drowning in fishing nets, overfishing and poaching.

Our gharials are part of the European Studbook (ESB) for the species.