Gustave – Killer of the Burundi

A 20 foot long, one tonne giant Nile crocodile called the Burundi region of Africa his home and has allegedly claimed over three hundred victims in the span of ten years. Burundi is a small state nestled between Tanzania and The Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Gustave travels between the Ruzizi River and Lake Tanganyika giving rise to the myth that he is a demon who can never be killed despite the numerous times he has been shot, as is apparent from the bullet scars on his back. Other local residents have a different theory about Gustave, that he is controlled by an evil witch doctor and used to carry out revenge killings.

While Gustave’s reputation of being a man-eater on record only dates back to 1997, this giant crocodile is estimated to be around 68 years old. The local villagers who live along the Ruzizi River and Lake Tanganyika however have been telling tales of him for much longer.

Patrice Faye a herpetologist who has lived in the Burundi region for over twenty years and has been pursuing Gustave since 1998, gave the croc the name Gustave. Humans are not the only prey on his menu, he has been seen eating a variety of animals and is an opportunistic killer. In a 2004 documentary entitled “Capturing The Killer Croc”, Patrice Faye obtained permision from the Burundi government to capture Gustave in a safe and humane way, as crocodiles are protected under international law. Patrice designed a one tonne, thirty foot cage to trap Gustave. To entice him into cage they used a variety of bait but in the end the were unsuccessful at capturing him.

Gustave is not the only giant crocodile to reach legendary status both in terms of size and notoriety:

  • Kali, a notorious man eating crocodile from India was shot in 1924. Kali was 23 feet long and what’s more surprising is that when they cut it open, they found an abundance of jewlery in its belly from its victims.
  • Lolong, a salt water crocodile from the Philippines weighed in at 2,370 lbs and measured in at 20 feet and 3 inches. At fifty years old he held the title of the Worlds Largest Crocodile in Captivity, until his death on February 13, 2013.
  • Cassius of Australia, captured in 2011 weighing 2,200 lbs and measuring 18 feet regained the title of World’s Largest Crocodile in Captivity since the death of Lolong. Cassius held the title prior to Lolong’s capture.

After a longer than usual absence from the Ruzizi River, rumours began to spread that Gustave had died of old age or had been killed and eaten by rebels (presumably to gain his mystical power). He then reappeared back into the Ruzizi River reaffirming his mythic status.

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