Gharial Catching Imaginary Prey

Gharial Catching Imaginary Prey

On 27th May 1983, I went to the Udaipur Zoo. There were four young Gharials (Gaviali gangeticus) brought from Kota on March 18, 1983. They were born in June 1980 and measured about 3’3”. They were of Chambal River and were kept in a cage with a pool of water in the centre.

 

Gharial Catching Imaginary PreyOn 27th May 1983, I went to the Udaipur Zoo. There were four young Gharials (Gaviali gangeticus) brought from Kota on March 18, 1983. They were born in June 1980 and measured about 3’3”. They were of Chambal River and were kept in a cage with a pool of water in the centre.

Two of the Gharials were sitting on the ground. I was watching them intently. After sometime, one of the Gharials raised its snout to about 45 degrees and remained in this position for sometime. Then suddenly it pushed forward its snout without moving its legs, opened its mouth wide and snapped. The act was very quick. It remained in this position for a few moments. It then raised it snout up opening its mouth slightly and giving an upward jerk to its snout and snapping again. This act was repeated for the third time. It then gulped three times. I watched it from 11 AM to 12 Noon. During this period it repeated this action five times from the same position.

To catch an imaginary prey in the air – was it some kind of hallucination or an instinct to have a regular exercise to keep fit? I leave this question for experts to decide.

Published in The Indian Forester:

Tehsin, R. H. (1986) Gharial Catching Imaginary Prey. Ind. For. 112(6): 554

 Photo for representation purpose only

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