Photo of the Day #27: Female Gavial

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Today’s photo comes from the National Zoo in Washington D.C., the only place where I have seen the Gavial (Gavialis gangeticus) in captivity. This crocodylian is one of the most endangered in the world, and the National Zoo has a male and female pair (and I can only assume that the zoo staff hopes the two will breed). The above photograph is the female, males of the species having a bulbous growth or “ghara” on the tip of their snout. Outside of being a signal as to which sex an adult belongs, the ghara is also used in vocalizations the male makes and blowing bubbles during mating displays, although the male at this institution was submerged and I could not get a photograph.