, large reptile of the crocodile
order, found in rivers from Pakistan to Myanmar. Also called gharial, the gavial (Gavialis gangeticus
) is distinguished from the crocodiles and alligators
by its extremely long, slender, parallel-sided snout. It feeds chiefly on fish, which it catches with side-to-side sweeps of the head. The young are hatched from eggs buried in the riverbank. Gavials are not known to attack humans. They average 12 to 15 ft (3.7-4.6 m) in length, with some individuals over 20 ft (6.1 m) long. The so-called false gavial is actually a narrow-snouted crocodile. The true gavial is classified in the phylum Chordata
, subphylum Vertebrata, class Reptilia, order Crocodilia, family Gavialidea.
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