As the largest freshwater predator in Africa, the Nile crocodile is one of the continent’s top predators. The crocodiles have earned themselves a fearsome reputation throughout history, but one in particular stands out as the most feared.
A mega-croc known as Gustave is said to be the most prolific, swimming through rivers and covering vast areas – hunting both animals and humans relentlessly.
Despite becoming the most famous Nile crocodile, Gustave has become a part of African folklore engulfed in myth and fiction.
Gustave The African Mega-Croc
Gustave is known to swim the waters of Lake Tanganyika and the Ruzizi River, attacking the inhabitants that live along the water’s edge.
Stories began circulating in 1987, when nearby inhabitants suggested that the croc was around 20 feet in length, weighed approximately 2,500 pounds, and had a body covered with significant scars. The croc was thought to be actively seeking out human prey.
Reports suggest the croc has killed over 300 people, but none of those killed were consumed. This has led locals to believe that the croc kills purely for pleasure.
Attempts have since been made to try and catch , and even kill Gustave, but proving to be an elusive creature, these attempts have so far been unsuccessful – he’s always managed to elude every trap and hunter.
Stories of Myth
Herpetologist Patrice Faye travelled to Burundi in the 1990’s, and has studied the stories of Gustave ever since.
Upon studying the beast, Faye came to the conclusion that Gustave did exist, and it was Faye himself that named the croc Gustave.
Faye claimed to have encounters with Gustave, reporting his size to be between 18 and 25 feet, and weighing around 1 ton. Faye also noticed scars all over Gustave’s body, as the locals had originally claimed, though they had also claimed the scars had originated from the bullets of hunters, which had little effect on the croc. As if bullets were not enough, the croc was also said to have brushed off rocket propelled grenades.
Exaggerated stories like these are not uncommon. Another story claims that the bullets had no effect on Gustave, because he’s not a real crocodile, but actually, an evil spirit.
Locals also made claims about the amount of victims Gustave had taken, which was said to be around 300.
Patrice claimed the number of victims taken by Gustave was nowhere near the 300 mark, but was actually around 60, or maybe even less.
Even if the victims did number around 60, Gustave is still the number one man-eating croc in the world. This reputation has made him the primary focus of documentaries, books and even a movie which came out in 2007, called Primeval. Even the ex-president of Burundi, Pierre Buyoya was nicknamed Gustave, due to his ruthless behaviour.
A witch in Burundi once claimed to be able to shapeshift into the crocodile, and others claimed to be able to control him, sending him to destroy people’s enemies for a fee.
Most stories about Gustave are indeed fictional, but most are adamant the mega-croc exists, and many people claim to have seen him in person.