Fort Worth Zoo Hatches Four Gharials

The critically endangered gharial is native to South Asia.

The gharials were about 100 grams in weight when they hatched two months ago and are currently about 150 to 200 grams today.

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The Fort Worth Zoo announced in social media that it has successfully hatched four gharials (Gavialis gangeticus), a crocodilian that is a fish eating specialist. The critically endangered species is native to South Asia. The zoo’s female gharials, Raani and Snuggle, together with Big Boy, the male, are the parents of the hatchlings.

The gharials were about 100 grams in weight when they hatched two months ago and are currently about 150 to 200 grams today, Zack Foster of the zoo said in a video posted to social media. The zoo is documenting as much of the growing process as it can. The hatchlings are being weighed on a weekly to biweekly basis and are being fed two to three times a week with live guppies and minnows. A constant supply of feeder fish are left in the enclosure so the gharials can feed when they wish. “The public’s recognition and support has been truly amazing to see,” Foster said.


“The team is incredibly proud and excited to finally have gharial hatchlings. Staff closely watched the developing eggs for the past few months and with each sign of life, our superstitious anticipation grew, just like a baseball pitcher throwing a no-hitter game. We were all pretty emotional with each hatching,” Vicky Poole, associate curator of ectotherms at the zoo said in a statement announcing the hatchlings. The zoo is the only institution in the United States to have successfully produced multiple offspring of this species.

The zoo says that there are 35 gharials in captivity in North American zoos and an estimated 200 to 500 adults living in the wild in Asia. They are traditionally found in the northern Indian subcontinent, including Pakistan and India, and Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar. Some of the waterways in which they are traditionally found include the Indus River, the Ganges River in India, the Brahmaputra River that runs through India and Bangladesh, and Myanmar’s Irrawaddy River. Surveys in 2008 and 2009 however, found no gharials in the Indus River. It is locally extinct in Bhutan, Myanmar and Pakistan.

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In 2019, about 100 gharial hatchlings were found in Nepal’s Bardia National Park, marking the first time in 37 years that the reptile was observed successfully breeding. The IUCN SSC Crocodile Specialist Group published the findings of the ZSL’s EDGE (Evolutionary Distinct and Globally Endangered) of Existence conservation initiative back in 2019. The groups estimated at the time that there are less than 100 adults left in Nepal and several fragmented populations in India. It is believed that there are no gharials remaining across the species’ former range.


Female gharials grow to about 8 to 10 feet in length, while males can reach up to about 13 feet in length. They feed on fish, insects, fish, frogs, crustaceans. The snout of the gharial is narrow and long and is adapted to capturing and eating fish. it is also commonly called the gavial or fish eating crocodile.