3) Gustave the Crocodile: 300+ Kills
This time we’re off to Burundi (south-east Africa) to visit a large Nile crocodile. This guy was rumoured to have killed more than 300 people, on and around the banks of the Ruzizi River and Lake Tanganyika. Gustave is greatly feared by the locals.
Gustave was named by a herpetologist who’s studied the beast for years. The exact size of the croc isn’t known because he’s still alive and probably wouldn’t take kindly to a tape measure being rested on his back, but some estimates put him at 7.5 m in length, 1 tonne in weight and over 100 years old. But due to the semi-mythical status of Gustave you could probably halve all of those estimates for a truer figure. That’s actually him in the picture above.
Gustave can be identified by three bullet holes of unknown origin in his tough hide. Some scientists speculate that because of his size, Gustave can’t hunt its normal nimble prey and has to go for bigger and/or slower prey. Humans will do just fine.
In 2004 Patrice Fey and some other brave science chaps went on a mission to capture Gustave with a bespoke 9m long, 1 tonne cage and a set of snares. They caught some crocs, but not old Gustave, oh no. He wouldn’t come out to play.
As the political regime changed in Burundi and unrest began, the team had to give up and go home empty-handed. Gustave could still be at large but he hasn’t been sighted since February 2008. I hope he’s OK.