And so, just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water, meet Gustave the Crocodile. Gustave is thought to have attacked and eaten more than one hundred people, in addition to a fully-grown hippo and several wildebeests. Hailing from Burundi, where crocodiles are a common sight, Gustave is estimated to weigh in at one ton and said to stretch for twenty feet, making it the largest crocodile ever found in Africa. No one has ever gotten close enough to make exact measurements, as Gustave has defied capture for nearly ten years after his first official sighting. For a crocodile, Gustave has demonstrated unusual cunning. It's avoided traps and has survived hails of machine-gun fire, although sustaining several scars in the process.
Despite having come to prominence in 1998, Gustave is thought to be around sixty years old judging by its size. Its notoriety has ensured his place in the folklore of the Lake Tanganyika region. The already considerable body-count has been exaggerated to legendary levels, and it is common to hear stories of Gustave having eaten more than five hundred people. Fisherman insist that the crocodile deliberately seeks out humans to eat. Some even assert that it no longer kills merely for food, but actually stalks and slays men and women for pleasure.
Gustave was given its name from Patrice Faye, a Frenchman and self-educated wildlife expert who had been living in Burundi and heard the stories of the killer crocodile. While he was initially skeptical of these claims, Faye came to agree the Gustave was something more than an ordinary crocodile and this has earned him derision in some circles. Nevertheless, Faye is perhaps the leading authority of Gustave and has made several attempts to capture or kill the beast. Faye's quest has earned him unkind comparisons to Captain Ahab, though his struggle against the creature does have a certain epic quality to it.
Last spotted in January, 2009, there hasn't been an attack recorded for some time. Perhaps Gustave died and its massive body is crumpled on some shore somewhere. Maybe it departed for other waters, having grown weary of its battle with Faye. Or maybe it's just lying in mud, waiting for some unlucky fisherman or swimmer.
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