What Eats People, Part 8: Nile Crocodiles


Here's one of the most notorious internet photos of recent years. The animal is a Nile crocodile; the arm belongs to a Chinese zookeeper. The croc was forced to give it back.


In researching for Deadly Kingdom, I went to great lengths to find out what animal eats the most people. It's not as simple a question as it seems, for a lot of reasons—the most important being that dead men tell no tales. The answer also changes with the times. Large-scale predation on people in the modern world always follows human troubles—famine, poverty, tsunami, or, more often than any other cause, war. These days African nations like Burundi are feeling the effects of strife, and that has opened the door for mass predation by the Nile crocodile. As far as verified cases go, the numbers are fragmentary, but the Nile croc looks to be taking about a thousand people a year.

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