Its bite is three times more powerful than a lion’s. Its attacks are 100 times deadlier than a shark’s. It can drown you, tear you apart or swallow you whole. Scared? You should be.
These lethal reptiles live in saltwater and freshwater. Great vision, fast swimming speeds and powerful bites make crocodiles lethal predators. The palatal valve at the back of its throat allows a croc to open its mouth underwater without drowning. A crocodile’s signature move is the death roll. The reptile clutches its victim and drags it underwater. Then it twists its muscular body, rolling and violently shaking its prey. This often wrenches the prey’s limbs out of their sockets and kills the victim. How could anyone face a croc attack and survive? Well, that’s the problem. All too often, people die. The following stories will show why you should never let your guard down in croc territory.
Number 1. Osama’s reign of terror
This famous 75-year-old crocodile ate 80 people, according to reports from Uganda. It was about 4.9 m (16 ft) long and lurked in the waters of Lake Victoria. In 2005, locals caught and killed the croc. Villager Paul Kyewalyanga recalls his brother Peter’s death. Osama snatched Peter from their boat. Peter screamed and clutched the side of the boat for about five minutes. Then, Paul heard a tearing sound. The croc broke Peter’s leg. When he let go of the boat, the croc dragged Peter into the water. Parts of Peter’s body were found a few days later.
Number 2. The Legend of Gustave
This beast killed people in Burundi’s Rusizi River for years. It’s estimated to be 6.1 m (20 ft) long and weigh 907 kg (2,000 lb). No one knows exactly how many people Gustave killed, but guesses run from 100 to 300 people. Herpetologist Patrice Faye has studied the area for decades and reported that Gustave ate 17 people in just one year. The worst part is Gustave has not been caught. It evaded several capture attempts, including a bear trap in 2002. Reports said that Gustave was spotted in 2009 and 2015, but the beast would have been over 80 years old, which is unlikely.
Some people think the name Gustave gets passed to each giant croc that appears in the river. Whatever the truth is, fishermen and bathers in the Rusizi River had better be careful, or they could become part of the deadly croc’s legacy.
Number 3. The Flip-Flop of Life
In 2016, a woman and her dog were standing next to the East Alligator River at Kakadu National Park in Australia. About 120 crocodiles lived in that part of the river. When a crocodile started approaching the woman, she remained still, almost daring the croc. As the reptile got closer, the fierce lady grabbed her sandal and snapped it at the crocodile, scaring it off. This viral video should not encourage you to mimic her tactic. You could lose your flip-flop and your life.
Number 4. Feast on the Island
In January 1945, during World War II, the Allies were fighting the Japanese at the Battle of Ramree Island in Myanmar. The Japanese soldiers retreated, and some went into the mangrove swamps. The swamps were full of saltwater crocodiles. Of about 1,000 Japanese soldiers, it’s estimated that only 20 survived. It is considered one of the worst crocodile attacks in history.
Number 5. The Tragedy of Ginger Meadows
In 1987, 24-year-old American Ginger Meadows was visiting the Cascade Falls in Australia. Yacht captain Bruce Fitzpatrick warned her not to go into the crocodile-infested waters.
But she ignored his advice and went swimming with her friend. Soon, a crocodile cornered them both against the waterfall’s wall. Her friend said that the crocodile opened its jaws in front of them. She threw a shoe at it, hitting the top of its head and making it go underwater. Ginger tried to swim to safety, but the reptile grabbed her and pulled her under the water.
Authorities found her body the next day. It would have been her birthday. It’s pretty clear that the best way to survive a crocodile attack is to stay away from their habitats. And remember, even if the water is still, it doesn’t mean you’re safe. A crocodile can stay underwater for up to two hours. They can see underwater and at night. You might not see it, but the reptile is probably seeing you.
- World’s deadliest crocodile attacks with victims torn to pieces, drowned in ‘death rolls’ and cut from stomachs. White, D. (2021). The U.S. Sun.
- 10 Most Lethal Crocodile Attacks Ever Recorded In History. Stephens, E. (2018). Still Unfold.
- These Humans Survived Crocodile Attacks. Here Are 6 Ways You Can, Too. Shapiro, R. (2018). History.
- Gustave: The Notorious Giant Crocodile Rumored To Have Killed Over 300 People. Felton, J. (2021). IFL Science.
- Here’s why crocodiles are 100 times deadlier than sharks. Calderone, J. (2015). Insider.