In news– A new study has revealed that increasing human intrusion into Tomistoma’s habitat may be causing it to attack people(usually shy).
- The false gharial, also known by the names Malayan gharial, Sunda gharial and tomistoma (Tomistoma schlegelii) is a large, slender-snouted crocodilian species native to southeast Asia.
- It is distributed across part of Borneo (divided between Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei), peninsular Malaysia and Sumatra.
- It is a freshwater species and is frequently associated with peat swamp forest.
- It is currently listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
- Although long believed to be primarily piscivorous (fish eating) due to its slender snout, in recent decades it has been found that the species has a much broader diet and is likely more of an opportunistic predator.
- In addition to fish, adult tomistoma also prey on birds, monitor lizards, monkeys and deer, as well as one record of attempted predation upon cattle.
- Increasing conflict with humans could be grave for the tomistoma which has specialised habitat requirements and a limited distribution.
- According to most studies, the tomistoma is a shy and reclusive species that typically retreats from areas with a high degree of human activity.
- Unlike the gharial, the false gharial’s snout broadens considerably towards the base and so is more similar to those of true crocodiles than the gharial, whose osteology indicated a distinct lineage from all other living crocodilians.