email a friend iconprinter friendly iconGustave, the Killer Crocodile
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After the interview, Audifax agrees to take us to the scene of the crime: Voodoo Beach. No crocs are visible on the beach, but there could be dozens of them lurking in the water. I ask if he ever goes there.

"Sure, all the time, with my friends. It's fun. I swim, too, but I never go very far into the water."

Faye thinks that Gustave is innocent in this case—that the terrified young barber who only got a brief look at his attacker, has written the infamous Gustave into the script. It's beside the point. What's astonishing is that losing a leg isn't sufficient warning to keep a person from swimming at the very beach where he nearly perished.

South African crocodile ecologist Alison Leslie joined Faye on the hunt for Gustave in October 2002, when, because of her 11 years' experience studying Nile crocs in Botswana and South Africa, she was recruited as scientific adviser to Vincent Munie's documentary team. I contact her to check the science behind the Gustave legend.

Leslie first saw Gustave through binoculars at quite a distance, about 500 feet, but was still stunned. "He's bigger than any Nile crocodile I have ever seen—even in captivity," she tells me. "I was overjoyed that there was a crocodile that large still alive in the wild."

Yet from that distance, and because Gustave was mostly submerged, Leslie was unable to determine his length. In nine years of studying Nile crocs, the largest bull she'd seen was about 15 feet long. Some of the size estimates I'd heard for Gustave, up to 28 feet, rival the size of prehistoric crocs in the fossil record. But colonial-era hunting records that Leslie had read indicated that the biggest Nile croc trophy ever taken (in Uganda) was just shy of 18 feet.

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Recent Comments
  • 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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