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The Mugger Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris), also called Marsh CrocodileBroad-Snouted Crocodile and Mugger is a crocodilian native to freshwater habitats from southern Iran and Pakistan to the Indian subcontinent and Sri Lanka. It is extinct in Bhutan and Myanmar and has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 1982.

It is a medium-sized crocodile that inhabits lakes, rivers, marshes and artificial ponds. Both young and adult mugger crocodiles dig burrows where they retreat when temperature drops below 5 °C (41 °F) or exceeds 38 °C (100 °F). Females dig holes in the sand as nesting sites and lay up to 46 eggs during the dry season.



  • The mugger crocodile is considered a medium-sized crocodilian, but has the broadest snout among living crocodilians. It has a powerful tail and webbed feet. Its visual, hearing and smelling senses are acute.
  • Mugger hatchlings are pale olive with black spots. Adults are dark olive to grey or brown. The head is rough without any ridges and large scutes around the neck that is well separated from the back.
  • Scutes usually form four, rarely six longitudinal series and 16 or 17 transverse series. The limbs have keeled scales with serrated fringes on outer edges, and outer toes are extensively webbed.
  • The snout is slightly longer than broad with 19 upper teeth on each side. The symphysis of the lower jaw extends to the level of the fourth or fifth tooth. The premaxillary suture on the palate is nearly straight or curved forwards, and the nasal bones separate the premaxilla above,
  • Adult female muggers are 2 to 2.5 m (6 ft 7 in to 8 ft 2 in) on average, and male muggers 3 to 3.5 m (9 ft 10 in to 11 ft 6 in). They rarely grow up to 5 m (16 ft 5 in). The largest known muggers measured 5.63 m (18 ft 6 in).

Distribution and Habitat

The mugger crocodile occurs in southern Iran, Pakistan, Nepal, India and Sri Lanka, but is probably extinct in Bangladesh. It inhabits freshwater lakes, rivers and marshes, and prefers slow-moving, shallow water bodies. It is also known to thrive in artificial reservoirs and irrigation canals.

Behavior and Ecology

  • The mugger crocodile is a powerful swimmer that uses its tail and hind feet to move forward, change direction and submerge. It belly-walks, with its belly touching ground, at the bottom of waterbodies and on land. During the hot dry season, it walks over land at night to find suitable wetlands and spends most of the day submerged in water. During the cold season it basks on riverbanks, individuals are tolerant of others during this period. Territorial behaviour increases during the mating season.
  • Like all crocodilians, the mugger crocodile is a thermoconformer and has an optimal body temperature of 30 to 35 °C (86 to 95 °F) and risks dying of freezing or hyperthermia when exposed to temperatures below 5 °C (41 °F) or above 38 °C (100 °F), respectively.

Hunting and Diet

  • They prey on turtles, birds and mammals including monkeys, squirrels, rodents, otters and dogs. It also scavenges on dead animals.
  • During dry seasons, muggers walk many kilometers over land in search of water and prey. Hatchlings feed mainly on insects such as beetles, but also on crabs and shrimp and on vertebrates later on.
  • Muggers have also been observed while preying and feeding on a python

Tool Use

Mugger crocodiles have been documented using lures to hunt birds. This means they are among the first reptiles recorded to use tools. By balancing sticks and branches on their heads, they lure birds that are looking for nesting material. This strategy is particularly effective during the nesting season.


Female muggers obtain sexual maturity at a body length of around 1.8–2.2 m (5.9–7.2 ft) at the age of about 6.5 years, and males at around 2.6 m (8 ft 6 in) body length. The reproduction cycle starts earliest in November at the onset of the cold season with courtship and mating. Between February and June, females dig 35–56 cm (1.15–1.84 ft) deep holes for nesting between 1 and 2,000 m (3.3 and 6,561.7 ft) away from the waterside. They lay up to two clutches with 8 to 46 eggs each. Eggs weigh 128 g (4.5 oz) on average. Laying of one clutch usually takes less than half an hour. Thereafter, females scrape sand over the nest to close it. Males have been observed to assist females in digging and protecting nest sites. Hatchling season is two months later, between April and June in South India, and in Sri Lanka between August and September. Then females excavate the young, pick them up in their snouts and take them to the water. Both females and males protect the young for up to one year.


The black-headed ibis (Threskiornis melanocephalus), also known as the Oriental white ibis, Indian white ibis, and black-necked ibis, is a species of wading bird of the ibis family.



  • It is the only native ibis species in its range that has an overall white plumage with a black neck and head. The down-curved beak and legs are also black.
  • Though often referred to as a wetland species, the black-headed ibis forages in a range of natural and man-made habitats.
  • This species of ibis nests only during the rainy season .
  • Tails of adults bear light grey ornamental feathers that turn jet black during the breeding season. During the breeding season, bare patches under the wing turn blood-red.
  • The head of some breeding adults gain a blueish tinge, or very rarely have a pink or bright red patch behind the neck.
  • Like storks and spoonbills, it lacks a true voice-producing mechanism and is silent except for ventriloquist grunts uttered by pairs at the nest.


Distribution range and Habitat

  • Black-headed ibis are native to the following countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Russian Federation, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam. They are migratory or vagrant in Japan, Republic of Korea, Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Mongolia.
  • The black-headed ibis is very versatile being able to use a large variety of natural and man-made habitats. These include freshwater and salt-water marshes, lakes and ponds, as also rice fields, freshly ploughed crop fields, irrigation canals, riversides, reservoirs, urban lakes, open sewage gutters, grazing lots, and garbage dumping sites.
  • In summer, they largely use and prefer natural marshes and fallow fields, but in the monsoon, spread out more evenly to also use a variety of agricultural fields.
  • Open sewage lines are used more during the dry summers, and ibis increase the use of grazing lands during the monsoon.
  • It builds a stick nest in a tree and lays 2–4 eggs

The Asian openbill or Asian openbill stork (Anastomus oscitans) is a large wading bird in the stork family (Ciconiidae).


  • This distinctive stork is found mainly in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. It is greyish or white with glossy black wings and tail and the adults have a gap between the arched upper mandible and recurved lower mandible.
  • Like other storks, the Asian openbill is a broad-winged soaring bird, which relies on moving between thermals of hot air for sustained flight. They are usually found in flocks but single birds are not uncommon.
  • Like all storks, it flies with its neck outstretched.
  • It is relatively small for a stork and stands at 68 cm height.


Habitat and Distribution

  • The usual foraging habitats are inland wetlands and are only rarely seen along river banks and tidal flats.
  • On agricultural landscapes, birds forage in crop fields, irrigation canals, and in seasonal marshes.
  • Young birds also disperse widely after fledgling.
  • The species is very rare in the Sind and Punjab regions of Pakistan, but widespread and common in India, Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand. The species is very rare in the Sind and Punjab regions of Pakistan, but widespread and common in India, Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand.


Food and Foraging

  • During the warmer part of the day, Asian Openbills soar on thermals and have a habit of descending rapidly into their feeding areas.
  • Groups may forage together in close proximity in shallow water or marshy ground on which they may walk with a slow and steady gait.
  • The Asian openbill feeds mainly on large mollusks, especially Pila species, and they separate the shell from the body of the snail using the tip of the beak. The tip of the lower mandible of the beak is often twisted to the right. This tip is inserted into the opening of the snail and the body is extracted with the bill still under water.
  • The gap in the bill is not used for handling snail shells and forms only with age. Young birds that lack a gap are still able to forage on snails.
  • Smaller snails are often swallowed whole or crushed.They also feed on Snakes, frogs and large insects.DSC01378-001 

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