Hunting a Crocodile, Senegal, 1780s

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This record was last updated on 27 Oct 2010

Image Reference

René Claude Geoffroy de Villeneuve, L'Afrique, ou histoire, moeurs, usages et coutumes des africains: le Sénégal (Paris, 1814), vol. 1, facing p. 83. (Copy in Special Collections, University of Virginia Library)

The crocodile, the author writes (pp. 82-83), is very common along the riverbanks. The hunter covers his right arm with several layers of strong cowhide and carries a dagger or Flemish knife in his hand. He approaches the animal holding out his arm, and the instant the crocodile’s jaws open, the hunter plunges the weapon as far as he can; and disembowels the animal. Villeneuve lived in the Senegal region for about two years in the mid-to-late 1780s. The engravings in his book, he writes, were made from drawings that were mostly done on the spot during his African residence (vol. 1, pp. v-vi).