Gustave - the giant crocodile



Gustave is a massive male Nile crocodile living in Burundi. In 2004 he was estimated to be 60 years old, 20 feet (6.1 m) in length and to weigh around 1 ton, making him the largest confirmed crocodile ever seen in Africa. He is a notorious man-eater, who is rumored to have claimed as many as 300 humans from the banks of the Ruzizi River and the northern shores of Lake Tanganyika. While this number is likely exaggerated, Gustave has attained a near-mythical status and is greatly feared by people in the region. Scientists and Herpetologists who have studied Gustave claim that his uncommon size and weight impedes the crocodile's ability to hunt the species' usual, agile prey such as fish, antelope and zebra, forcing him to attack larger animals such as Hippopotamus, large wildebeest and, to some extent, humans. According to a popular local warning, he is said to hunt and leave his victims' corpses uneaten.

Gustave was named by Patrice Faye, a French resident of Burundi and self-taught naturalist who has been pursuing the crocodile since 1998. Faye and a documentary team attempted to capture Gustave in 2002 using an enormous trap, but the crocodile not only avoided it, but seemed to taunt the team as well. The ill-fated attempt was detailed in a documentary titled Capturing the Killer Croc, which aired on PBS in May 2004.

Gustave was sighted most recently in February 2008 by National Geographic sources. In parts of Asia and Australia saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) 6 metres (20 ft) long are well known and easy to spot; individuals 7 metres (23 ft) long have been reported. In eastern India the Guinness Book of World Records has confirmed the existence of a 7 metre individual. Therefore, although Gustave is not exceptional in size compared to other species of crocodiles, he is much larger than the average male Nile crocodile. He is known for the few distinct bullet scars that cover his body: one on his head and three on his right side.


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