Tomistoma (False Gharial, Malayan Gavial)
Tomistoma schlegelii (Muller, 1838)
Range: Southeast Asia, Indonesia
Habitat: Freshwater Wetlands, Peat Swamps
Diet: Fish, Turtles, Monkeys, Deer
Social Grouping: Solitary
Reproduction: Females construct mound-nests of leaves and peat, lay 20-30 eggs (sex of egg is determined by incubation temperature). Eggs hatch after 90-100 days. Unlike other crocodilians, tomistoma do not care for their young after hatching. Sexually mature when body length of 2-3 meters is reached.
Lifespan: 60-80 Years
Conservation Status: IUCN Endangered, CITES Appendix I
- Maximum body length 5-6 meters, adult weight 90-200 kilograms. Males larger than females
- Dark red-brown coloration with black banding on the tail and dark patches near the jaws; belly is cream-colored.
- Often likened to the gharial because of its slender snout, but uncertain as to whether it is more closely related to the gharial or to crocodiles. Slender snouts usually denote fish-eating in crocodilians, but tomistoma will also take larger mammals, such as deer or pigs
- Threatened by habitat loss (deforestation, construction of dams). Also harmed by local fishing practices, either becoming entangled in nets or poisoned by chemicals used to catch fish. The hide is not considered valuable, so they are not hunted for the skin trade
- There are reports of at least three fatal attacks on humans by tomistoma
- "Tomistoma" comes from the Greek for "Sharp Mouth"