Growing up, we all hear tales of terrifying monsters gobbling up humans and terrorising local villages. Most stories about these deadly beasts have been passed down from generation to generation, and we can take comfort in knowing that even if they did exist, they’re definitely not alive anymore. But there is one serial man-eating crocodile that is still rumoured to be on the loose—Gustave, the killer crocodile of Burundi.
The man-eating crocodile
According to the locals in Burundi, Africa, this 6-metre long Nilecrocodile has killed up to 300 people in the community and some believe that he is still lurking around his territory in Lake Tanganyika. Multiple hunters have tried to capture the beast and even kill it, but to no avail.
The real age of Gustave is widely debated. Some believe he’s surpassed a century, while others have concluded that he is in his 60s after analysing his dental arch. Whatever his age might be he is most probably still alive because no one has managed to kill him yet. And given how strong the croc is, it’s very unlikely that he has died from a natural cause.
Capturing the beast
One man who has been tracking the crocodile over the years is naturalist, Patrice Faye. In 2002, he told BBC about one of his attempts to catch the animal and he said:
He is enormous. He is three times as big as the other crocodiles in Burundi. He is not very fast and cannot feed on what other crocodiles in Burundi eat - fish and small mammals. He attacks slow prey which are easy to capture.
We placed [the trap] into the Ruzizi [a river in Central Africa], put bait inside and spent the whole night in the river with cameras.
But it was a total failure. The crocodile was parading outside the cage, teasing us, and we were unable to catch it.
All of Faye’s efforts were featured in a documentary called Capturing the Killer Croc, which was released in 2004. In the three months that Faye was shooting in Burundi, 17 people were eaten by Gustave. Faye added:
I calculated that if he had been killing people for 20 years at this rate, he would have already eaten more than 300 people.
After that, we heard nothing of Gustave until 2009 when National Geographic reported that the croc was seen once again—but that has yet to be confirmed.