Photographer Dhritiman Mukherjee caught a stunning image of a freshwater crocodile floating through a river on his back with dozens of offspring. These stunning photographs were taken at Uttar Pradesh, India's National Chambal Sanctuary and were highly applauded.
Photographer Dhritiman Mukherjee, an experienced wildlife photographer, was fortunate (or unlucky) enough to catch this moment in India's National Chambal Sanctuary.
The stunning shot shows a freshwater gharial-a fish-eating crocodile type-swimming in the waters with dozens of their babies sitting on their back.
Every time you look at the snap (crocodile pun), you see more and more reptiles, seriously.
Mukherjee's image is now a favourite in this year's competition for Wildlife Photographer of the Year (WPY).
Speaking to BBC News, Mukherjee explained: "This male had mated with seven or eight females, and you can see that it was very much involved.
"Normally the gharial is quite a shy crocodile compared with the saltwater and marsh crocs. But this one was very protective and if I got too close, it would charge me. It could be very aggressive."
The freshwater gharial is a critically endangered species, according to National Geographic, and can grow anywhere from 12.25ft-15.5 ft in length and reach 2,000lbs in weight.
They are easily differentiated by their long, thin snouts, which end up with a broad "bulb"-reminiscent of a round earthenware pot, or Hindi-language "ghara"-hence the name.
Patrick Campbell, the senior reptile curator at London's Natural History Museum, which runs the prestigious WPY competition, said of the snout of the gharial: "It is a structure that allows the amplification of vocal sounds.
"Other crocs carry their young about in their mouths. Very carefully, of course! But for the gharial, the unusual morphology of the snout means this is not possible. So the young have to cling to the head and back for that close connection and protection."
Where there were once about 20,000 crocodiles across South Asia, fewer than 1,000 mature individuals are now thought to be remaining-and 75 percent of them are concentrated in the sanctuary of Uttar Pradesh.
Building dams and removing boulders and sands have resulted in a reduction of the natural habitat of reptiles.
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