This is the Gharial crocodile. My 8 year old daughter recently introduced me to this bizarre creature at the bookstore.

I was surprised to learn it is a living species, maybe because it just looks so dinosaur-ish.

The Gharial crocodile gets its name from the odd bulbous growth, known as a ghara, on the snout of mature males. This feature is accentuated by the narrow jaws used for snapping up fish.

Gharial crocodiles grow to 15 feet long and inhabit India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan.

In the 1970’s the Gharial crocodile teetered on the brink of extinction. Conservation efforts and breeding programs have restored their populations.

Next time you’re swimming in a remote Indian river, maybe you’ll meet one.