Gustave, the monster of Tanganyika: story of a Nile crocodile



by LORENZO CIOTTI

Gustave, the monster of Tanganyika: story of a Nile crocodile

The Nile crocodile is found in Africa in many bodies of water: rivers, lakes, reservoirs and pools. It is not present in the Nile north of Lake Nasser. During times of drought it can wander up to 25 kilometers in search of water.

It can also live in salty waters, in fact it has been sighted in the channel that divides Madagascar from Africa. The Nile crocodile is a mortal danger to animals living in its environment. It has sturdy legs equipped with claws with which it climbs the banks of rivers with agility.

Thanks to her claws, the female digs a hole in which the eggs will be laid. The crocodile must constantly bask in the sun to keep warm. To prevent its body from overheating, the Nile crocodile takes refuge in the shade or dives into the water.

Gustave, the monster of Tanganyika

In Lake Tanganyika, a large lake in East Africa, which is located on the border between Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Zambia, a monstrous Nile crocodile has been raging for decades on the northern side of the Ruzizi river, renamed by the inhabitants of the neighboring villages Gustave.

According to Patrice Faye, a French herpetologist who has been pursuing the monster since 1998, the enormous reptile measuring over 7 meters and over 1 ton would have devoured at least 300 people, as reported by the testimonies of the inhabitants, even more.

So much so that his capture was also attempted by the Congolese army, but to no avail. In 2004, a scientific expedition organized by the National Geographic Channel and led by Professor Faye himself attempted to capture the animal with a 9-metre steel cage, again without success.

In 2005, local authorities claimed to have captured the Tanganyika monster, but the culled reptile was confirmed to be a 5-metre specimen, not Gustave. The last sighting was in June 2015, when a resident said he saw it on the bank of a river dragging the carcass of an adult buffalo into the water. Currently Gustave is still around. In 2007 the story of the gigantic and ferocious Gustave inspired the film Primeval.