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Nature Netherlands

Dominant mating kills rare female crocodile

The false gharial, also known as the Malayan gharial or false gavial, that arrived at Amsterdam zoo Artis last year, has passed away. According to Artis, the dominant mating behavior of the male gharial was what killed her.

The false gharial is a crocodilian with a long, thin snout, with razor-sharp needle-like teeth. It is with this implement that the male gharial grasps the female to “show its dominance”, the zoo explained. From an autopsy, it seems that the mating behavior was a bit too rough for the female. She had wounds all over her body. Eventually, she died of suffocation.

The false gharial is listed on the IUCN endangered species list. They are native to Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo, Sumatra and Sarawak, but the current population estimate is below 2,500.

This is why a special European breeding program was set up for the rare reptile. To stimulate reproduction, the zoo introduced an extra female crocodile for the couple that had already lived there for some time.

The gharial enclosure was remodeled as well. Deeper water, extra pools, a water fall and banks where the reptiles could lay eggs. All of this was to ensure a suitable environment for the reproduction to commence.

All these investments were for nothing, then. The zoo calls the death of the crocodilian a bug loss for Artis as well as the European breeding program.