For over two decades, a mysterious creature that lurked beneath the depths of Lake Albert in Uganda was often described as ‘legendary’ and ‘monstrous’.
Just hearing his name would send shudders down the spines of locals in the villages surrounding the lake- and with good reason-, as the massive Nile crocodile is alone responsible for having killed 83 people and counting.
This is the story of Osama- Uganda’s most feared Man-Eater.
In the small village of Luganga, stories spread like wildfire about a menacing crocodile known as Osama, A 75-year-old beast said to have caused unfathomable destruction in the 14 years since he was first discovered.
It’s believed that Osama first emerged from Lake Victoria – Africa’s largest lake – and would gain notoriety as the one responsible for snatching children from river shores and causing boats to capsize with his sheer size and strength.
In fact, locals were so terrified of Osama that a good portion of them would refer to him as a sort of myth or legend-
Whereas the others literally thought of him as the devil himself.
The children of Luganga would tell tales of horror when recounting their run-ins with the beast, terrorizing everyone in their communities and causing many people to avoid going near the river- one of their main sources of survival, The locals in Luganga rely on the water from Lake Albert for both sustenance and livelihood.
The lake provides them with an abundance of fish, which they can harvest for food and is a main source of income for many of them-as they would sell this fish to other nearby villages and towns.
And, of course, the lake is also their primary source of drinking water- making approaching the river essential.
Despite their fears, The villagers estimate that a tenth of their population have been snatched by Osama- leaving them no other choice than to hope they can outrun it if they’re ever unfortunate enough to encounter him whenever they’d have to venture into or near the lake.
Brothers Paul and Peter Kyewalyanga are out fishing on what was a beautiful day on the lake-little.
Do they know, however, that a large Nile crocodile lurks just a few meters away and worst of all… its stalking them?
The estimated 16.4 Ft Nile Crocodile suddenly explodes out of the water and grabs a stunned Peter by the leg, and a massive struggle ensues….
The brothers attempt to fend Osama off in a desperate bid to get him to unlatch his notoriously powerful jaws, ones that are capable of delivering bite forces of over 2000 psi-which ranks amongst the most powerful in the animal kingdom.
One lesser-known fact about Nile Crocs is that they are not always solitary predators and are much more intelligent than most people know.
In some cases, these prehistoric reptiles are known to form “packs” or “gangs” in order to take down larger prey such as Buffalo or even elephants.
This unique behavior has been observed in crocodiles living in the Ramree Island, Myanmar, where crocodiles are known to come out of the swamps in groups to hunt down wild Buffalo, Although they are rarely known for.
But it serves as a reminder that crocodiles are not just highly adaptable, but clearly possess a level of intellect that isn’t given enough credit, which has allowed them to animals that can thrive in a variety of environments.
And it’s at this point that Paul recalls hearing what he described as violent tearing, causing Peter to Cry out in agony- shouting to his brother at the top of his lungs that his leg had been shattered, & suddenly there was just silence.
What were once highly active waters, calm before a traumatized Paul – as he realizes he’d likely never see his Peter again.
A team of local divers would later find shredded clothing floating in the lake, which would later be confirmed by Paul to have been his brothers, and although he’d never in his life wish he’d more be wrong about something, Paul’s suspicions would, tragically, be confirmed once none remains of Peters could be recovered- leading him to conclude that Osama had, in all likelihood, fully consumed his brothers body.
Osama” was finally captured in 2005 after local people and wildlife officials devised a daring plan to lure him from the lake’s depths by using cow lungs as bait.
The giant Nile Crocodile is now part of a breeding programme run by Uganda Crocs.
Alex Mutamba from the organization would have the following to say after his capture: “All Nile crocodiles like Osama will eat a human being if they perceive their territory is being encroached on, But our crocodiles are well-secured so I’m not too worried”.
In an incredible display of courage and ingenuity, local people and wildlife officials were able to capture the notorious Nile crocodile “Osama” in 2005..
By using a copper snare to trap the animal’s teeth, a team of 50 people led by Uganda Wildlife Authority were eventually successful in subduing the crocodile.
As The Science Times reported at the time, Osama is now part of a successful breeding programme run by Uganda Crocs.
Alex Mutamba from the organization commented: “All Nile crocodiles, like Osama will eat a human being if they perceive their territory is being encroached on, But our crocodiles are well-secured so I’m not too worried”.
Nile crocodiles are known man-eaters in many parts of Africa– and for good reason.
Although humans are not their natural prey, there are a few circumstances that may lead to them turning to us as a food source.
One of the primary reasons is due to human interference with their habitat and overfishing in their areas, which reduces the amount of smaller prey they can find.
They are, furthermore, notoriously aggressive in nature in comparison to other members of their species-including salt water Crocs- and will strike out at anything or anyone they view as competition or a threat.
While it is well-known that Nile crocodiles are widely feared as man-eaters, these reptiles can actually be quite shy and will try to avoid humans if given the chance.
They also have an excellent memory and are known to remember a human for several years after an encounter, even if no direct contact was made- Another compliment to their underrated intellect.
If you ever find yourself in their territories, It’s important to remain vigilant in their presence and to never do anything that would provoke or endanger them.
The best approach is to respect them from a distance and understand the risks associated with interacting with them.
Crocodile attacks on humans are often the result of human-wildlife conflict.
Particularly when habitats overlap and close proximity between the two species is present.
This can also occur in situations where people are near a body of water and performing tasks such as washing clothes, bathing or fetching drinking water from the river.
It’s important to be aware that crocodiles can be extremely dangerous animals and are to be treated with the utmost respect.
National Geographic estimates the number of deaths caused by Nile crocodile attacks at around 200 per year.
If this video piqued your interest, then our last video- about a man-eating tiger- is sure to do the same- you can find it on the end screen of this video.