Reproduction: Sexual maturity is attained in females at about eight to ten years
of age. However, male attains reproductive maturity at 13-14 years of age. Mating
takes place in December and January. After about one month of breeding, the
female searches for a suitable nesting site. She digs a nest with her hind legs in a
sandy river bank. Once the nest is made, the female puts her hind legs inside the
nest and starts laying eggs. During laying, eggs are first held in the paws and
then gently drop at the bottom. The eggs are laid at an interval of about a minute.
The nest is filled with sand after laying of eggs. On one clutch the female gharial,
on an average, lays about 40 chalky-shelled eggs. The total number of eggs may
be up to 100.
The female guards the nest in close proximity. The optimum incubation temperature
lies between 32°C and 34°C. The young hatch after 72-92 days of incubation period.
The young make a croaking sound signaling the mother about the emerging out
from the eggs. The newly hatched young are about 15 inches long and weigh
about 75- 97 g. The hatchling is carried by the mother on her back or mouth in
order to release it into the water.
Behaviour: Basking during winter months is an important behaviour of gharials. This is seen in midstream islands and sandbanks. Gharials are also found near river banks during the high-water monsoon months. Young animals make a groaning noise when disturbed.
Life span: Gharials are reported to have a life span of 29 years in captivity.