This man-eating crocodile has killed more than 300 people in Africa

Records of crocodile attacks on the north-eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika date back to 1987.

Gustave has a reputation as a man-eater, but witnesses report that it often does not eat its victims [National Geographic/Martin Best]

Although it is not known whether it still roams the Ruzizi River and the northern shores of Lake Tanganyika in Burundi, Africa, Gustave the crocodile continues to strike terror into the minds of the area's inhabitants.

There are terrifying legends about the gigantic Nile crocodile, which weighs up to 910 kg and is credited with killing up to 300 people.

"The largest, most legendary crocodile in all of Africa - a demonic Loch Ness monster of incredible size and, according to legend, appetite," Michael McRae described Gustave in National Geographic. Records of crocodile attacks on the north-eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika date back to 1987.

Since the late 1990s, the case of the Nile crocodile from Burundi has been investigated by herpetologist, Patrice Faye, who named the animal Gustave. He first heard about it in 1998 from local fishermen.


"They told me that their friend was eaten by a huge crocodile. The fishermen recognised the crocodile, sometimes it appeared, sometimes it disappeared for a few years, and then came back to kill again," he said in an interview with National Geographic. Later he heard about more deaths and disappearances.

The exact size of this beast is unknown - according to some sources, it may be over 9 m long and weigh up to 910 kg. Gustave has four scars on his body, but it is unclear how they were created.

Scientists believe that due to its size, it cannot hunt agile antelopes and zebras, which is why it attacks larger animals: hippos, buffaloes and... people. He could have killed 200 to 300 people. It has a reputation as a man-eater, but witnesses report that it often does not eat its victims.

“The bodies are not completely consumed,” Faye said. "The legs, abdomen, arms and heads are usually missing - only the torsos of the victims remain," he described. He reported that Gustaw could consume several victims in a few days.


Much information about the animal comes from the film Capturing the Killer Croc, which was broadcast in 2004. The film documents the attempt to capture Gustave.

"There is a killer on the loose in the heart of Africa. Over the past few years, more than 200 people near Lake Tanganyika have been killed by a gigantic, predatory crocodile estimated to be 30 feet long and almost a century old," wrote the filmmakers.

The team found Gustave. Its members made many attempts to catch the animal, using various baits, including a goat. Smaller crocodiles were trapped, but not Gustave.


A young hairdresser, Hatungimana Audifax, who survived the attack, told National Geographic, "The crocodile grabbed my leg. At first I thought it was one of my friends. I looked behind me and saw this thing that was huge and old. Then I felt the pain. It was unbelievable," Audifax was 13 years old at the time.

"I turned to look at him and our eyes met. My leg was crushed and part of my calf was torn. I almost passed out from the pain." The fishermen managed to scare the beast away, but unfortunately the boy lost his leg. He guessed that he had met Gustave when he heard at the hospital that four other people had been attacked on the same beach.

In 2009, a crocodile was spotted in the Ruzizi River near Lake Tanganyika. 10 years later, a journalist from Travel Africa Magazine, who was travelling in Burundi, reported that the animal had been killed.

However, since he did not provide any evidence, it is possible that Gustave was taken alive. National Geographic magazine wrote in 2009, "What is certain is that his legend will continue to terrify and excite people long after he disappears into the murky waters."



This article was originally published on Onet Travel.


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