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  • Two men are fishing in the waters of the Ruzizi  river in Burundi, a small nation that lies  

  • between Tanzania and The Democratic Republic of  the Congo. The sun is hanging low in the sky,  

  • and the men are keeping a wary eye out for  hippopotamuses. Nighttime is when the hippos leave  

  • the water to feed so the sun doesn't scorch their  sensitive skin, and of all the animals in Africa,  

  • they are the most feared. As the sun sets above  them, the men haul in catfish after catfish,  

  • dusk is always the best time to fish- but the  commotion has drawn the attention of something  

  • large and cold blooded. Something with hunting  instincts honed by millions of years of evolution,  

  • an ancient predator that once preyed on  dinosaurs and then outlived them. Distracted  

  • as the men are by their great success, they  don't notice the brief shadows of a large,  

  • dark mass moving through the murky waters. One  of the men leans down to pick up a large catfish  

  • still struggling on the end of the hook- when  suddenly the water erupts with two tons of  

  • reptilian fury, giant jaws seizing the fisherman  by his midsection and dragging him under. With one  

  • flick of its mighty tail, the gigantic crocodile  has already pushed itself deep into the waters  

  • of the Ruzizi river, and the only sign of the  horrific attack are rapidly diminishing ripples.

  • Just days later, a mother and her children  are doing laundry by the river's edge-  

  • this time in broad daylight. Her teenage  son is helping and busily scrubbing away  

  • when suddenly there's an explosion of water  as a giant crocodile lunges out of the river  

  • and seizes the boy by his leg. With barely enough  time to scream, the boy is dragged into the water  

  • and drowned- though later his dismembered remains  would be found and identified by local farmers.

  • These are just two of over 300 alleged attacks  against humans by the legendary African crocodile,  

  • Gustave. A beast of a crocodile, Gustave has  never been captured but has been observed  

  • by scientists at a distance. The monster is  estimated to be anywhere between 18 to 25 feet  

  • long (5.5m – 7.6 m) and weigh more than two tonsPreviously it was thought that Gustave had to be  

  • around 100 years old in order to have reached such  incredible size, but observation of the crocodile  

  • when he opened his mouth revealed that Gustave  still has all of his teeth, and crocodiles of  

  • that age are nearly toothless. Unlike most other  animals, crocodiles never truly stop growing,  

  • and their sizes are only limited by their  lifespan- if a crocodile can avoid predation,  

  • disease, or starvation, it can continue to  grow indefinitely, and it's thought that a  

  • crocodile's true lifespan is unknown, and only  limited by their ability to continue hunting.  

  • Once the teeth are lost though, the  crocodile is no longer able to hunt  

  • and thus dies of starvation. If a crocodile's  teeth could keep on growing forever though,  

  • it's thought that crocodiles may have  a life span as great s 150 years,  

  • or possibly even more- which would make them  some of the longest lived reptiles in the world!

  • Another factor working against giant crocodiles is  the necessity for larger and larger prey as they  

  • grow, a handicap that Gustave currently facesAs they get bigger crocodiles are no longer able  

  • to hunt fast, agile prey such as fish, antelopeand zebra, which forces the animals to hunt much  

  • larger prey such as hippos, big wildebeest, and  naturally: humans. With 300 deaths attributed to  

  • Gustave, it's believed that the giant killer  croc has long ago made the switch to humans  

  • and found them to be easy prey, which only  encourages the crocodile to hunt more humans.

  • The first reported kills by Gustave  of humans began back in the 1970s,  

  • and its thought that Gustave is about 63-64  years old, meaning he must have gotten a taste  

  • for people quite early on in his life. Yet the  initial attacks were blamed on other crocodiles,  

  • and it wasn't until the 80s that they started  being linked to the sightings of one specific,  

  • and very large croc. Still, his body count was  hard to nail down as Gustave curiously would not  

  • always eat the people he preyed on- often bodies  would be discovered dismembered and in pieces,  

  • yet not eaten. Why Gustave was killing people  and not eating them was, and still is a mystery,  

  • as dismembered bodies have been discovered  as recently as the 2010s. Perhaps though the  

  • explanation can be found with another terrifying  prey animal: the great white shark. Once mature,  

  • great whites hunt seals almost exclusivelytheir bodies offer densely packed reserves  

  • of thick fat which is an excellent source  of energy for the sharks. Most humans on  

  • the other hand offer a far less satisfying treat  for the shark, which is why so many shark attacks  

  • are limited to a single exploratory bite, with  the animal immediately spitting the swimmer or  

  • surfer back out in disgust when it realizes its  mistake. For Gustave, it might be the same case-  

  • an animal as giant as Gustave requires a very  high calorie diet, and though crocodiles can go  

  • months without eating at times, for a croc the  size of Gustave hunting can be very difficult.  

  • It is kind of hard after all to ambush prey when  you are the size of a small truck, the sheer bulk  

  • of the animal could be giving it away to the big  hippos and wildebeest it needs to eat in order  

  • to survive. Crocodiles do most of their hunting on  the shallows close to the river bank where animals  

  • come to drink- and if you're the size of Gustave  there's just not many places where you can lie  

  • inconspicuously in shallow water. All that bulk  also makes hunting agile prey such as antelope  

  • or fish, which makes up a significant portion of  a regular crocodile's diet, all but impossible.

  • What this means is that Gustave must hunt every  opportunity it has, and while other animals have  

  • long learned to fear and respect the water, we  humans have yet to catch on. Perhaps its our  

  • perceived mastery of the environment, our ability  to build cities and towns, that has insulated  

  • us from the primeval instincts to fear what my  lurk in the water. Whatever the reason, humans  

  • tend to be a lot less careful in the rivers and  lakes that Gustave prowls than any other animal,  

  • and with our pathetically weak bodies, we  hardly put up a fight. Gustave may simply be  

  • attacking out of sheer instinct, seeing prey and  snapping at it the moment it has an opportunity-  

  • but after dismembering a human he may realize  what a small meal we are and then spit out its  

  • victim. That would explain the discovery of so  many mutilated bodies after a Gustave attack.

  • Of course for others Gustave isgood scapegoat for their own crimes,  

  • and its believed that many guerillas dismember  their captives and dump them in the rivers,  

  • knowing the locals will be quick to blame Gustave  instead of them. With little official monitoring  

  • of Burundi's wildlife, it can be hard to pin down  an exact kill count for Gustave, but few doubt  

  • that the big crocodile has an appetite for humans  and has killed many dozens- likely hundreds.

  • Gustave has to date attacked women, childrenand men, as well as livestock and pets.  

  • Farmers have hunted the animal and even shot  at him, all with little effect. Yet despite  

  • his fearsome reputation, the government of  Burundi has never called for his extermination,  

  • and instead scientists have actually tried  to capture Gustave in order to move him away  

  • from people and better study him. One such  capture attempt occurred in 2004, with a team  

  • of scientists being granted two months to attempt  to capture the killer croc. Because of a rapidly  

  • deteriorating political situation, the local  government was not able to ensure the safety of  

  • the scientists past this time limit, and thus the  team got to work immediately on trapping Gustave.

  • But first they had to find the legendary croc,  a feat that was not so easy in the vast African  

  • bush. With the aid of hot air balloons and  motorized gliders though the team eventually  

  • found Gustave and though they were unable to get  close enough to properly measure him, imprints  

  • left in the mud and photos of him sunbathing  indicated he may be as big as 25 feet (7.6 m). If  

  • true then that would make Gustave the largest  crocodile ever recorded, far larger than Lolong,  

  • the largest crocodile ever held in captivity who  came in at a whopping 20 feet, 3 inches (6.17 m).

  • After finding Gustave the team set to work  setting a series of cage-like traps for Gustave,  

  • baiting them with meat hanging in hooks and  an infrared camera to capture images at night.  

  • Yet despite leaving the traps out for weeksthe closest they ever got to luring the croc in  

  • was a brief video capture of a very large croc  eyeing the hanging meat from the water just  

  • outside the cage. Thinking that perhaps Gustave  would respond better to live prey, the scientists  

  • switched to placing live chickens inside the  traps- though again the chickens were ignored,  

  • interestingly enough not just by Gustave but by  other crocs as well. When the chickens didn't  

  • work, in a scene straight out of Jurassic Parkthe scientists put live goats inside the cages,  

  • and yet still Gustave nor any other crocodile  struck. Or so they think- during one particularly  

  • violent rain storm one of the cages slipped into  the river and when scientists showed up the next  

  • morning they found the goat gone. Whether it  had broken free and escaped the sinking cage  

  • or had actually been gobbled up by a giant croc  and the cage failed to close is anyone's guess.

  • Frustrated by their inability to capture  Gustave, the scientists switched methodology  

  • and instead attempted to use tried and true snare  traps. The snares had bait- typically large chunks  

  • of meat- sitting on the ground, and once an animal  went for the bait, the snare was sprung and would  

  • wrap rope around the animal's body, holding it in  place. Incredibly even these failed to capture or  

  • even entice Gustave or any of the other crocsand with time having run out, the scientists  

  • were forced to leave the country. Since thenpolitical chaos has discouraged further official  

  • expeditions to the area, the political situation  being nearly as dangerous as Gustave himself.

  • However the legend of Gustave had spread far  and wide, and in 2010 a French naturalist named  

  • Patrice Faye living in Burundi made new attempts  to capture the legendary beast. He would shoot  

  • Gustave, but not with a gun, but rathertranquilizer dart. Gustave is likely immune  

  • to bullets anyways, as scientists believe that  his hide is so thick and his mass so large that  

  • even a large caliber rifle can't penetrate deep  enough into his body to cause serious damage-  

  • a fact supported by the four distinct bullet  scars that have been observed on Gustave's body.  

  • Faye has another plan- shoot Gustave with  a tranquilizer dart and stop his rampage  

  • by moving him to a remote area free of  people or perhaps a man-made enclosure.  

  • Yet despite tracking the animal for three monthsduring which 17 attacks on people were recorded,  

  • and giving out dozens of cell phones to locals  who were instructed to immediately call Faye  

  • upon sighting the monster, the quest  to stop Gustave's rampage has failed.

  • Or perhaps not. The last confirmed sighting of  Gustave was in 2015, and the apparently lack of  

  • confirmed sightings since then may indicate that  Gustave has at last met his end. In the end it may  

  • simply have been the ever growing influence humans  have on the local environment that did Gustave in,  

  • with farmers expanding their fields  and pushing wildlife out of the area,  

  • the big game that Gustave relied on may simply no  longer be available, and unable to hunt smaller  

  • prey, Gustave may have starved to death. We may  never know the giant killer croc's ultimate fate,  

  • but for thousands of Africans living  along the banks of the Ruzizi river,  

  • it's still best to keep a sharp eye out when near  the waters and never stray too far into them.

  • Thats our story. If you liked this videomake sure you check out our other video  

  • Prison Escapes That Went Horribly  Wrong. See you next time!

Two men are fishing in the waters of the Ruzizi  river in Burundi, a small nation that lies  

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A Crocodile With A Kill Count Of Over 300

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    Summer posted on 2021/10/11
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