email a friend iconprinter friendly iconGustave, the Killer Crocodile
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Like other crocs, Gustave tends to feast on those parts of his victims that are most easily torn off. "Generally, the bodies are not entirely devoured," Faye says. "The legs, abdomens, arms, and heads are usually missing—only the victims' torsos remain." When Gustave goes on a feeding binge, he's a glutton, consuming several victims in just a few days.

Crocodiles do not need to overeat to survive. Studies of captive crocs have shown that after devouring ten pounds of meat in one sitting, they will digest the meal for the next two weeks. After consuming a large animal such as a wildebeest, a wild croc might not hunt again for a month or more. And if food is unavailable, crocs can stop the production of stomach acid (essentially slowing down their metabolisms) and survive for up to a year until conditions improve. Even in that motionless state, they remain alert, sentient, ready to attack.

While crocs don't require much to sustain themselves, they will readily ingest whatever meals come their way. "A croc will eat five pounds of meat a day if it's offered," says John Brueggen, deputy director of the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park in Florida, the only zoo in the world with every species of crocodilian on display, "And those extra calories go straight to growth." Under optimal conditions, a gluttonous 60-year-old Nile croc that had eaten enough over its lifetime could certainly reach Gustave's presumed size.

A series of horrific attacks in early 2004 were characteristic of Gustave's legendary appetite. In January of that year he disappeared from the Rusizi delta. In February Faye picked up unconfirmed reports that a huge crocodile was prowling public beaches along the north shore of Lake Tanganyika. The following month a group of fishermen told him that "a crocodile as big as a boat" was on a feeding binge near the town of Magara. Faye drove to the town and came home with this appalling entry in his notebook:

Harimenshi, age 14, son of Ntigacika Francois, killed March 8, 2004
Mbaychonankwa, adolescent, son of Karenzo Peel, March 10
Cekamabo, [no age], March 12
Ntimunsubire, adolescent, son of Ezechiel Buumi, March 14
Ndarubayemwo, adolescent, son of Mugabonihera, March 15

Faye believes that if Gustave were captured and placed in the cement enclosure that he had built in Rusizi National Park, killings of this sort would end. What's more, the infamous giant would attract paying visitors to the park, which has suffered during the civil war. Nothing satisfies a morbid curiosity—or keeps a zoo's turnstiles spinning—like a man-eater.

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  • Its great to know that such creatures are still existing on our planet.But for the betterment of peo…
  • gustaf is a huge croc ive seen it myself it eats wilderbeast like we eat crisps.and should not be ki…
  • Has gustav been caught
  • I REALLY like this article and i think that they should take Gustave to the wild , a place with no h…
  • Actually, as of January '09, Gustave is still alive and kicking. And still roaming the Rusizi river.
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