Some like it hot!

Indonesian swamp forests are hot, humid and wet! Due to their home being near our Earth’s equator the Sunda gharial crocodiles are used to a hot environment with between 70–90 percent humidity year-round.

What a long snout you have my dear!

Perhaps the most enigmatic of crocodilians, the Sunda gharial is both mysterious and extraordinary. Also known as tomistoma or false gharial it is a fresh water crocodile, one of the world’s largest crocodilian species and is renowned for its distinctive, slender snout. It is rarely seen as it is very shy and secretive in nature, and well camouflaged within the dense lowland peat and swamp forests it inhabits.

At the Zoo

Meet our sunda gharials:

Auckland Zoo welcomed two female sunda gharials from Krokodille Zoo in Denmark in early September 2022. Sisters Malu and Sumpit, were born in 2010, they are around 3 metres long and weigh between 70–90kg. The Zoo has named them Malu, which means ‘shy’ in Indonesian, and Sumpit — which is Indonesian for chopsticks. Their long slender snouts are more than a little reminiscent of chopsticks, and one of their indigenous names is buaya (crocodile) sumpit, or chopstick crocodile.


Sunda gharials arrive from Denmark!

Follow ectotherm keeper Julie as she discusses the arrival of the Zoo's two freshwater crocodiles.

In the Wild 

Origin: Sunda gharials were once widespread throughout Southeast Asia, but due to habitat loss, hunting and poaching, today they are only found in Borneo and Sumatra.

Habitat: Sunda gharial are found predominantly in lowland lakes, swamp forests and rivers. They prefer slow-moving water and an abundance of vegetation in which they can hide.

Conservation status: Vulnerable.


The Science of Animal Care - The Swamp Forest

How do you create the perfect hot and humid habitat for Southeast Asian crocodiles and fish? Using the best in science and habitat design, experts from Aotearoa and around the world have been brought together to create our Swamp Forest habitat.

How you can help 

As a not-for-profit, we rely on our amazing supporters like you to be able to continue our conservation Wild Work for the world’s most vulnerable and at-risk animal species. Help our wildlife in need by making a donation.

Other South East Asian Species