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Fatal animal attacks on humans are so rare that it makes a movie like Jaws seem almost criminal. Animals only attack humans if they're threatened, or really hungry, or if the human is poking the animal with a stick. They obviously don't go around seeking out and slaughtering humans just for the murderous thrill of it.

Well... most of them don't. See, the thing is, Jaws was based on a true story. It's one of a few rare, terrifying cases where an animal just methodically went about killing lots and lots of people. Such as...

The Tsavo Man-Eaters

The Time:


The Place:

A 1,000 mile long stretch of track that cut across British East Africa called the Kenya-Uganda Railway. Since the British themselves were far too busy drinking tea and solving mysteries to build a railway, they outsourced to thousands of desperate Sikh laborers, many of whom died building it.

England: Granted, we were always hard on animals, particularly those that lived in tribes.

The Story:

The problem with killing a bunch of dead natives other than the obvious permanent scarring on your soul and the potential for getting haunted by the guy from Poltergeist, is the animals. They get used to the daily human flesh buffet, and the mass graves of dead Sikh workers helped a pair of mane-less male lions develop a taste for people.

The future can't come quickly enough.

The Tsavo Man-Eaters terrorized the workers of the Kenya-Uganda railway for nine terrifying months.

How They Killed:

We need to be clear: These bizarrely skin-headed lions weren't protecting themselves, they were actively sneaking into camp at night, climbing into tents and dragging the sleeping workers away to their deaths. Those tents were like pistachio shells to the lions, except the nuts inside kept screaming and had families to support, and oh God that's the saddest thing ever.

Over the long months of the spree, the workers and their British managers tried every conceivable way to stop the lions: they sent out hunting parties (who were evaded or slaughtered); built gigantic fences made of fucking thorns; and set out traps, but none of it worked. The lions were just like, "Oh, thorns, I'm totes out of my element, I've never had to avoid them growing up in the fucking jungle," before murdering more sleeping workers. For months the lions dragged away and ate the railway workers, killing as many as 135 of them.

How They Died:

After many, many months of murdering and skipping through traps and defenses like horrifying cartoon characters, the Man-Eaters of Tsavo were finally brought down. In true movie monster fashion, they didn't die easily.

The man responsible for killing them, John Henry Patterson shot the first lion five times with a .303 caliber rifle over the course of an entire day as the lion continued to stalk him. Then it took eight shots (one directly in the head) to kill the second.

Just to recap, that's 13 bullets to kill the Man-Eaters as they were hunting him. And these were huge, turn of the century, British bullets too. Either Patterson was a terrible shot or the two lions really, really wanted to kill him.

Sankebetsu Brown Bear Incident

The Time:

December 9-14, 1915

The Place:

Sankebetsu, Japan. And not the Japan you're thinking of, with all its baffling video games and sexual perversions. Back in 1915, the vast majority of Japan was made up of sleepy little farming communities. Think Oklahoma, but less relentlessly awful.

Hardly a meth house in sight!

The Story:

Japan has maintained a long standing tradition of getting everything backward, even the Goldilocks story. One morning in November, an 800-pound Ussuri brown bear wandered up to the Ikeda family homestead in the Sino village of Sankebetsu Rokusen-sawa. The bear fled after only a few minutes, but returned several days later to a nearby house and mauled a baby before dragging its babysitter off into the woods to be eaten. Move over, former-saddest-thing-ever, there's a new chief in town.

A hunting party chased down the bear and managed to shoot it once but it escaped. The general consensus among the group was "eh, good enough." They were a bad hunting party.

The next night, the bear made its way to another house and killed three more people. This time, 50 local guardsmen made it to the house in time to fight the bear. If you've ever watched a monster movie, you know how this ended.


The Sankebetsu murder-bear escaped yet again into the night.

How He Killed:

We'll say this for the bear: He didn't like to waste meat. Upon their return to the Ota house, a search party found what was left of one of the victims (a head and some leggy bits) buried in the snow for safe-keeping.

In two days, the bear-tastrophe robbed six people (one of whom was pregnant) of their lives. The local militia were so terrified that they began to flee their posts. Only the men who had survived the recent war with Russia had the balls to stay.

They'd seen far worse.

How He Died:

The local authorities soon realized they had only one option; call up Yamamoto Heikichi, an expert bear-hunter with a legendary reputation. Unfortunately, Yamamoto had pawned his gun for liquor several days earlier. He refused the request on grounds that he would much rather be drinking.

Eventually, the town managed to convince Yamamoto to come and save their asses. He helped form a squadron of anti-bear snipers. Even with 60 men and a cadre of elite bear-hunters on the trail, it took several days to hunt down and finish the bear off. The autopsy revealed traces of his victims in the 836-pound carcass.

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The Rogue Elephant of Aberdare Forest

The Time:


The Place:

Aberdare Forest, British East Africa. Like everywhere else in Africa, Aberdare is just lousy with elephants (we presume, we've never been farther east than the 7-11 by the old middle school). While the circus and Disney tends to portray the elephant as a gentle giant, their behavior can more closely resemble a drugged up, confused teenager.

The Story:

A bull African Bush elephant labeled the Rogue Elephant of Aberdare Forest went on a vicious, multi-month rampage across villages and farms in the area. While rogue elephants are far from unique, this one seemed to be just a little bit more of a dick than the rest.

Holy shit that elephant set the jungle on fire, he's got nothing to lose!

The elephant evaded (or killed) several local hunters on multiple occasions, and attacked a number of small villages just for the hell of it. But he never attacked the same village twice so his movements were unpredictable and impossible to follow. Clearly outmatched, the locals knew their only hope lay in calling upon a modern-day Beowulf.

Enter the aptly named J.A. Hunter, a big game hunter and professional badass. Before and after World War II, Hunter traipsed up and down Africa with a large-bore, rifle leading safaris and slaughtering over a thousand rhinos. As a renowned beast killer, Hunter found himself occasionally asked by locals to deal with man-eating monsters. A local village begged Hunter for help tracking and killing the angry elephant and, unable to resist the allure of shooting a giant animal in the head, he consented.

How He Killed:

J.A. Hunter documented his conversations with the natives about the rogue elephant attacks. He wrote, "Two natives were returning to their village one evening when they saw a great black mass standing motionless in the shadows. The men shouted to scare the thing away. At once the mass left the shadows and charged them at fearful speed ... They heard the man's screams as the elephant caught him. The great brute put one foot on his victim, and pulled him to pieces with his trunk. Then he stamped the body into the ground and went away."

The elephant would wait in the shadows for people and then tear them limb from limb like a giant, less subtle version of Batman.

How He Died:

The elephant evaded Hunter for two days and deliberately led the hunting party into treacherous terrain, forcing them to crawl through brambles and nettles and briars.

Eventually, J.A. Hunter proved to be the superior murdering machine. Upon performing the autopsy, he found a bullet buried in the nerve center of the bull's right tusk, which he believed was the explanation for the elephant's violence. Rather than taking the moral of "human intervention in the lives of animals" to heart, Hunter went on to shoot more guns at piles of animals throughout the rest of his career. So we wonder, who was really the bigger dick?

The Real JAWS.



The Place: The Jersey Shore. Sadly, the attacks came several decades too early to stop Jersey Shore from entering production.

Where's a man-eating shark when you need one?

The Story:

The Jersey Shore shark attacks were the first example of "shark mania" in American history. They were the seed that grew into Shark Week, as well as the genesis behind the terrible Summer of the Shark. The attacks were also the inspiration for Peter Benchley's landmark novel Jaws, which Steven Spielberg turned in to a block-buster movie we're all duly familiar with.

From July 1 to July 12, a vicious man-eating shark terrorized the Jersey shore. The monster attacked five people, killing four of them. Shark panic soon gripped the entire area and the shore lost a quarter-million in tourist dollars (which was a lot back then), as thousands of bathers decided to spend their vacations somewhere slightly less shark infested.

"You know what else is lovely this time of year? War-torn central Europe."

Eventually, the locals fought back. Hundreds of them gathered with nets and dynamite and guns and set to work murdering every fish they could find with high explosives and random gunfire. 1916 was a different time. A better time.

The campaign was 100 percent unsuccessful. They didn't manage to kill a single shark. While everyone in Jersey was nursing a hangover, a great white with a belly full of human remains was caught by a lion-tamer named Michael Schleisser off the coast of Manhattan. The shark weighed 325-pounds and was 7.5-feet in length. Since there were no more attacks after the 14th, and the attacks had been moving north up the coast of Jersey, people realized they had dodged a terrifying bullet: a great white using the same playbook as Jason Vorhees.

A legend was born.

How He Killed:

Some experts have suggested that the Jersey man-eater couldn't possibly have been a great white. The habitat was all wrong, and the real culprit for at least a few of the attacks was likely a bull shark. More recently, experts not intent on killing the Discovery Channel's buzz have argued that the man-eater was in fact the culprit, and just really eager to eat some people. At this point, all we have to go on is what we know of about the Great White, which brings us back ...

How He Died:

... to the fucking lion tamer.

You knew we couldn't let a nugget like that slip by.

It seems perfectly reasonable for you to assume that a man who tames lions would also hunt sharks on weekends, but you would be wrong. In fact, shame on you for stereotyping. This is the exact reason lion tamers are pigeon-holed in our culture. Schleisser killed the great white out of necessity when it nearly sank his boat. In fact, he had to murder it with a broken oar in self-defense. Altogether, 15-pounds of human flesh were found in the beast's stomach. He may not have been guilty of all the killings, but those hunks of people didn't get inside its stomach by mistake.

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Gustave the Crocodile.

The Time:


The Place:

Burundi. One of the least fortunate countries in the least fortunate continent on the face of the planet. The hard-luck people of Burundi have had to deal with the overflow of countless civil wars and at least one genocide, not to mention plenty of civil unrest of their own. And, to top it off, their people are being stalked and systematically slaughtered by the most prolific serial killer of all time.

Source: Hollywood.

The Story:

Gustave was born roughly 66 years ago, somewhere along the Nile River near Burundi. Most of the other crocodiles of Gustave's generation were hunted down by poachers but somehow, Gustave beat the odds (please note, Gustave's distinguishing features are his massive frame and the bullet hole in his goddamn face).

Those blades of grass? They're fucking trees.

Crocodiles, like orcs and goldfish, don't ever stop growing; as long as they get a steady supply of food, they'll get bigger and bigger. A normal Nile Crocodile is about 13 to 14 feet long, but Gustave is believed to be over 20. He weighs around 2,000-pounds and local authorities claim he has devoured as many as 300 people.

How He Killed:

Normal crocodiles generally stick to large game, like cape buffalo, zebras and occasionally cartoon pirates named after their disfigurements. It follows that a larger crocodile would stick to even LARGER game, so you'd theoretically have nothing to fear, because that size requirement limits the kind of food he can eat to killer whales and your nightmares.

Gustave was different. He didn't like to eat whales or buffalo. He liked to eat humans. More accurately, he likes to kill humans. Witnesses have seen Gustave cut through whole groups of people as large as five or six, but he rarely seems to eat a whole person. Instead, he will take a bite and move on, literally killing a man just to watch him die. Maybe he's actually a vegetarian, or maybe he somehow obtains nutrients through human screaming. It wasn't uncommon for Burundi citizens to stumble across a trail of uneaten corpses left behind by Gustave.

How'd He Die?

He didn't. Of fucking course he didn't, because you can't just kill the physical manifestation of hatred. He resurfaced in 2008, and murder monster experts says he is "healthy and his prize list of victims has grown." One new addition? A fisherman that he dragged to the lake and drowned. Didn't eat him, just pulled him out and drowned him and then left because he heard a rumor that someone, somewhere didn't directly fear him.

And now he's just alive, out there. A living, breathing, scream-eating dinosaur that is so sick of his own immortality that he passes the time by destroying life whenever he sees it.

And there's nothing we can do to stop him.

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