Skip to main content

Beware of Gustave!

"Beware of Gustave!" was the subject of an email from a friend who has a friend from Bujumbura. Gustave is a gigantic crocodile that lives and hunts in Lake Tanganyika and the Rusizi River. Bujumbura is located on the northern shores of the lake.

Gustave is most likely the largest crocodile in Africa. He's a long-lost "supercroc," an ancient breed of Nile crocodile. They just don't make crocs like Gustave these days. He's estimated at being 20 feet long and weighing one ton. He's responsible for possibly hundreds of human deaths along the water's banks. He's become a local legend, and while many of the croc-related deaths may not be him, there's evidence that most are. The local villagers are afraid of him, yet they have no choice but to fish in the river in order to feed their families.

Over the weekend we watched a PBS special about Gustave, Capturing the Killer Croc. (It's available from Netflix.) While the show is admittedly sensationalized there's no denying two things: 1) The landscape along the river and lake is gorgeous. We just bought a new big screen TV and we watched with our mouths hanging open at the lush greenery, hardly believing we could be living there within 6 months. 2) Gustave is freakin' huge. It showed him laying next to regular-sized crocodiles and with hippos. I have visions of him terrorizing downtown Bujumbura, Godzilla-style.

There's a French naturalist who's obsessed with Gustave, Patrice Faye. He's been studying Gustave for years and trying to capture him to use for breeding in the Rusizi national preserve. Faye also collect specimens for the Bujumbura natural history museam, Musee Vivant. I'd love the chance to visit that museum while we're there. I'm a natural history museum freak.

For more information on Gustave, read the National Geographic article Have You Seen This Crocodile?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Acid Bug

My blog will now join the short list of results that pop up when you search for "nairobi fly, acid bug" on Google. Mike was hit by one over the weekend.
The Nairobi fly is a small beetle that does not bite or sting, but based on its nickname acid bug, guess what it does? The insides of the bug are toxic, and if you smack it against your skin the juices cause a burning rash. They are common throughout East and Central Africa, and it's the season for them here in Burundi. We think Mike and his friend rode through a swarm of them on their bikes over the weekend, because his friend has some burn spots, too, and the spots appeared on both of them after they returned from the ride.
We've heard of two remedies to soothe the burning, but Mike hasn't tried either yet. One is to use toothpaste, the old-school white kind, and the other is to cut a potato and rub it on the burn area. Both the toothpaste and the potato are supposed to draw out the acid. If you wash the area imm…

What Goes Through My Head When I Lock My Door

When I'm alone in our apartment, or alone with Muffin, I lock the deadbolt, day and night. Here is my thought process:

I'm walking down the hallway toward my door. I nod "Hello" in a neighborly way to a man also walking down the hall. I enter my apartment (having had my key ready since I first got into the elevator because women are conditioned from an early age not to be fumbling for their keys in an area where the distraction of doing so might make them vulnerable to an attack) and close the door. I put my hand on the deadbolt but I don't turn it right away.

What if the guy who just walked by thinks I'm locking it because I'm afraid of him? 

It's not about him specifically, though, it's about being a woman alone in an apartment building. 

So what if he's offended? 

It's none of his business if I lock my door or not, unless he was planning to enter the apartment, in which case fuck him, I did the right thing by locking the door.

I'm a nar…

Book Review: Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey

After you've read something, please consider leaving a line or two on Goodreads and Amazon. The authors appreciate it!

Here's my review as it appears on Goodreads.

Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really liked this book in the beginning. I grew up in an old haunted house in New England, yet I'm always a skeptic. (99% of supernatural activity ends up being the wind or a cat — and cats are creepy as hell.) I liked reading the stories behind the stories, whether they debunked the legends or gave credence to them. I’ve always been interested in history and nonfiction and ghost stories are the old “fake news.” Entertaining but you shouldn’t necessarily take them at face value. As the book went on, I found the stories themselves no less interesting but the format became tedious.

A couple of the stories really stood out to me. There are many cases of ghost stories being used to control a narrative that makes people feel sa…