The Gavial

The Gavial - Gharial or fish-eating crocodile endangered species watercolor painting and sketch illustration

I hadn’t figured out what I was going to doodlewash today as the workday came to a close and then Guest Doodlewasher, Kathrin Werner, suggested a gavial. I wasn’t familiar with these, so I googled it to find a very intriguing creature that’s also known as the gharial or fish-eating crocodile. This one certainly counts as uncommon since the global population of these reptiles is estimated at fewer than 235 individuals. They are listed as Critically Endangered on the UCIN Red List due to loss of riverine habitat, depletion of fish resources, and entanglement in fishing nets.

The gavial is one of the longest of all living crocodilians, measuring up to 6.25 m (20.5 ft) at the extreme range. It packs 110 teeth along its thin snout, so it’s well-adapted to catching fish, which is pretty handy considering their largely pescatarian diet. They spend most of their time in water as their short, weak little legs make it difficult to spend long hours on land. Males make hissing and buzzing sounds during mating season to communicate and protect their territories. When females are ready to mate, they put their snouts in the air. Thus begins a bit of courtship as they follow each other around with a little snout rubbing and mounting, which is apparently done by both male and females.

Gavials like to bask in the sun, which increases their body temperatures and aids them in their mobility as well as helping with digestion. When they rest, they do so with their jaws wide open, as many humans also do after drinking too much at a party. No idea whether they also drool or not. This was a fast one and I’m sure there are more fun facts to uncover, but I’ll leave you to your own googling if you’re interested. There’s only two more creatures to go in this month’s adventure so if you have a suggestion, let me know in the comments!


About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Quinacridone Gold, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue,  Cobalt Teal, Permanent Pale Green, and Neutral Tint. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you'd like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!
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46 Comments
  1. kungfunaomi 2 years ago

    THAT IS CREEPY LOOKING. 😀
    Keep up the good work!

  2. Sabiscuit 2 years ago

    Charlie, this is amazing. I am intrigued by your palette as well. I think this paper was great for your Lamy as I thought you’d used water resistant ink. Everyone (colours and reptile) is behaving well in the sketch. May I ask after the brush size? xo

    • Author

      Thanks so much Sabiscuit! 😃💕 I love this paper in the Pentalic sketchbook… it’s thick and 100% cotton and makes it easy to lift paint, which isn’t possible in most sketchbooks. And the Platinum Carbon ink I use is waterproof, the black dries quickly, but the sepia and blue I use take a little time to dry before erasing pencil lines when I do a quick contour (particularly the sepia). This is the set of brushes I use is here:

      https://doodlewash.com/2015/09/19/lessons-in-doodlewashing-escoda-versatil/

      I always seem to favor the #6 primarily and the #4 for tweaks or to add a bit of white gouache, and they are the ones featured in the main photo.

      • Sabiscuit 2 years ago

        Thank you so much for this. I seem to only collect brushes. I will try to use them. It’s helpful to know what sizes artists use for smaller paintings and for detailed work. I appreciated the information on inks, as well. Have a lovely Wednesday.

      • Author

        No problem! Hehe… yes, definitely use those brushes!! 😉👍 Hope you have a wonderful Wednesday as well my friend!

  3. Teresa Robeson 2 years ago

    Poor little thing! You rendered it beautifully! <3 Is it bad that I want to use it as a toothpick? Kidding!!

  4. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 2 years ago

    Looks like a filet machine.

  5. Jacob 2 years ago

    Crikey! Your doodlewash is so cool, and really rather terrifying! As such, I’m not sure Mr. Gavial would get the nod from the future ruler of my pond – that of course being the Seal of Approval. I might have to cross him off my zoo list 😉 But seriously awesome. Twenty feet long, hundred and ten teeth!? Eep!

    • Author

      Lol… thanks Jacob! Yeah… I’m pretty sure the seal would NOT welcome this in your pond. Poor guy would have a hard time making any friends in your growing menagerie with those fearsome teeth!

  6. memadtwo 2 years ago

    That’s quite a set of teeth! Definitely looks prehistoric. (K)

  7. Jodi 2 years ago

    Love his SMILE! LOL! you did a beautiful job on this creature Charlie! I don’t think I would like him/her any other way 🙂

  8. Teri C 2 years ago

    Holey moley, not only is it HUGE but those teeth! Yikes! Great job on this guy.

  9. Jill Kuhn 2 years ago

    That is one thin grin! 😜 I bet it was fun drawing all those teeth! Hehe! 🐊💕 Excellent doodlewash Charlie! 🎨👍😃

    • Author

      Thanks Jill! 😃💕I sort of just made some quick doodled pointy triangles for the teeth and well… didn’t count them properly! 😊There was no way I was attempting all 110!! Lol

  10. Sharon Mann 2 years ago

    I wouldn’t want to meet this fellow in a dark alley, scary teeth. I love all the colors you used to achieve his skin tone, beautiful Charlie. 🐊

    • Author

      Thanks Sharon! 😃💕I kind of improvised with the colors and my references were just sort of gray. Hehe… and no… definitely not one to meet in a dark alley!!

  11. YesterdayAfter 2 years ago

    Very nice and rare creature. I love the colors and as always you did great job on representing it! 😉

  12. Kari 2 years ago

    The snout reminds me of my bread knife! Lol. It seems like it could saw its prey. Very cool! 💕

  13. Jui 2 years ago

    very nice detailing of skin and snout! Your paintings make every creature look beautiful! 🙂 Nice work!!

  14. Yikes look at those teeth! Great work if this is quick? Loving his skin. I need to get a new black liner, as mine has had its day, I Have never heard of the one you use, is it waterproof? I am guessing yesish as you use with watercolour, do you wait for a while before using watercolour, or is it ok to get straight to it?

    • Author

      Thanks Rebecca! Yeah… those teeth are terrifying! This one was quick so I just sort of doodled some on and didn’t count them! hehe… I use a Lamy Safari (Al Star is the aluminum vs. plastic version) which works fine for me when combined with the waterproof Platinum Carbon ink. The black dries super quick (less than 30 seconds and you’re definitely good to go), and the sepia and blue are pigmented inks and take just a little extra time (2-3 minutes) before erasing pencil and applying color.

  15. addictedtosuccesss 2 years ago

    This is nice

  16. Cathe 2 years ago

    Wow, I thinking about all those teeth. Quite exotic as he sits in the sun and digests…fish! I love the color of his skin, you captured a sense of light shinning on him, very handsome!

    • Author

      Thanks Cathe! 😃💕 Yeah… they’re really interesting looking creatures! Though I wouldn’t want to get too close to one, of course!

  17. Susan Feniak 2 years ago

    My what big teeth he has!! 20 feet? Another one I do NOT want to share the water with. Cool doodlewash Charlie! 🙂

  18. kathiwerner 2 years ago

    oh, cool,you chose the gavial right away. It is an awesome doodle of an awesome animal. If you like to see my version of a gavial: http://www.kathiwerner.wordpress.com/2015/09/21/a-visitor-from-india/

    • Author

      Thanks Kathrin! 😃💕Yes! Right away… I only pick and doodlewash at the last minute, but had forgotten to pick anything yesterday so THANK YOU!! hehe… you saved the day! And thanks for the link to yours… I couldn’t find it when I looked… It’s soooooo much cuter than mine! Hehe… LOVE it!!😍

      • kathiwerner 2 years ago

        Thankyou so much Charlie for this huge compliment, though I find yours very cute ( and much more like a real gavial!.

  19. artandmoondreams 2 years ago

    What a charming looking fellow, beautifully painted, love the layers of color and detail. I do hope they manage a strong comeback, they really are fascinating…admiring from a distance. lol.

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