Exile beckons, but where will Muammar Gaddafi end up? Photo: Reuters

If history is anything to go by, embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has a lot of options for his retirement.

Following in the footsteps of other murderous dictators he could live a pyjama-clad life of luxury in a country home, sunbake on the coast of the Red Sea or escape to Lake Como.

Some less impressive options include living in a hole with a stash of guns and cash, in a besieged underground bunker or hiding out in a jungle.

And that's if he doesn't get killed first.

Here is where some of the world's most notorious dictators ended up:
Saddam Hussein

Once a brutal leader who lived in grandiose palaces, the Iraqi dictator was found lying dishevelled in a "spider hole" outside Baghdad.

After taking power in 1979 Saddam Hussein sent his army into Iran, starting an eight-year war that killed an estimated 1 million people, with atrocities including the killing of 148 people in the mostly Shia town of Dujail in July 1982, and the gassing of 5000 Kurds in Halabja in March 1988.

Saddam's fearsome reign was targeted by the US in 1991 and again after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Saddam fled when Allied forces invaded in March 2003.
He was captured that December in a small hole, concealed by farmhouses near his home 
town of Tikrit, north-west of Baghdad.

According to the BBC, the so-called "spider hole", which was near some farm buildings, was about two metres deep, with enough room for one person to lie down.
After his capture, Major General Ray Odierno said there was one room cluttered with clothes and a basic kitchen with running water.
Time magazine reported there was a stash of AK-47s and $750,000 in cash.
"When pulled from the subterranean hideout, Saddam seemed confused and disoriented," the magazine reported.
He was put on trial for crimes against humanity and was hanged in December 2006.
Idi Amin

Responsible for the deaths of as many as half a million Ugandans and the torture and persecution of hundreds and thousands of others, Idi Amin fled and spent decades soaking up the sun on the picturesque Saudi coast.

During Amin's eight years as president of Uganda from 1971 he used mass murder to react to opposition, with his regime responsible for the deaths of an estimated 500,000 people, while many others were tortured or left to die in jails.

The Ugandan economy had been relatively strong before he took power, but when he was overthrown in 1979 the national debt was more than $300 million, annual inflation was 200 per cent and many factories and shops were closed.

Amin went into exile in Libya, before settling in the outskirts of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia with one of his wives and 25 of his children, supported by the Saudi government.

Jeddah is set on the coast of the Red Sea and, according toLonely Planet, has a relaxed holiday feel to it.

"Don't be surprised if you see bikini-clad girls on jet-skis at the beaches here," the online travel guide says.

It is considered a major commercial and cultural centre, with the picturesque Jeddah Corniche, or waterfront.

This is where Amin lived until 2003, when he died in a hospital at the age of 78.
Joseph Stalin
Widely considered one of the most feared dictators in history, Stalin was wearing his pyjamas when he collapsed in his country home outside Moscow after a night of drinking and feasting.

Stalin came to power in the Soviet Union in the mid-1920s and began a process of rapid industrialisation, which cost millions of lives.

He also purged the Communist Party of "enemies of the people" - those accused of treachery - by executing thousands and exiling millions.

In the early hours of March 1, 1953, as Stalin planned to launch the Soviet Union into war, the dictator went to bed in his country home after a night of drinking and watching a film with his entourage.

Stalin had given orders not to be disturbed, so his guards did not check on him until the following evening.

One of his guards told the BBC he found Stalin lying in his pyjamas, having wet himself and making an "incoherent noise".

He died on March 5 from a stroke, but some maintain he was poisoned over his plans to start World War III.
Adolf Hitler
Hitler had lavish holiday houses in the alps but, with defeat imminent in 1945 after years of his terrifying rule, the German dictator spent his final days in a bunker and killed himself.

Hitler became German chancellor in 1933, gave himself dictatorial powers and began his anti-semitic regime.

His invasion of Poland began World War II and he ordered the Jewish populations in conquered countries to be rounded up and killed.

Along with the millions of Jews killed in the Holocaust, hundreds of thousands of physically and mentally disabled people and gypsies were also slaughtered.

Eventually the war took its toll on Germany's resources and, as Soviet Union troops threatened to take Berlin, Hitler hid in a bunker under the city.

Bernd Freytag von Loringhoven, an aide to Nazi chiefs, described Hitler's mood swings in those final days to the BBC in 2005.

Hitler was "ice cold in his expressions and very aggressive, especially towards the generals", he said.

"I had the image of a very strong, vital person with charisma, but what I saw was a sick old man".

The Nazi leader committed suicide as defeat became certain, either by shooting himself in the head or taking a cyanide pill.

Today the bunker is a car park surrounded by bleak-looking government apartments.
Benito Mussolini
The Italian dictator, who led a brutal invasion of Ethiopia, led Italy into World War II and sent Jewish people to concentration camps, hid near Lake Como, before being shot dead.

Mussolini made himself dictator in 1925, before he led the invasion of Ethiopia - marked by the executions of young, educated citizens - and made it part of his empire.

He provided support to the Nazi Party and adopted Hitler's anti-semitic policies, rounding up Jewish people and sending them to concentration camps. Mussolini then led Italy into World War II by declaring war on France and Britain.

He was ousted by Allied troops and thrown into jail before being rescued by German soldiers and made the leader of a new government, which failed.

Mussolini fled to Lake Como, near the Swiss border, but was spotted in Dongo and arrested with his mistress in a cottage near the village.

According to a Time magazine report, the dictator thought he was being liberated.
"Joyfully he embraced his [mistress].

"When he learnt that he was under arrest, his face turned yellow with fear and fury.

"He cried: 'Let me save my life, and I'll give you an empire!'

"But the partisans gave him short shrift. He was bluntly informed that he had been condemned to death."

The pair were shot on April 28, 1945, and their bodies were strung up in Milan.
Pol Pot
After fleeing to the northern jungles of Cambodia, the dictator responsible for as many as 2 million deaths, died in his sleep while under house arrest.

Pol Pot rose in the ranks of the Cambodian Communist Party in the 1960s and became one of the leaders of underground movement the Khmer Rouge.

The Khmer Rouge toppled the Cambodian government in 1975 and began to turn the country into a rural society by banning money, private property and religion.

According to several estimates, between 1 and 2 million people died through execution, torture, disease and starvation from 1975 to 1979.

After Vietnam invaded Cambodia and overthrew the Khmer Rouge, Pol Pot disappeared into the northern jungles on the border of Cambodia and Thailand.

Following internal battles in the Khmer Rouge, he was arrested by former colleagues in 1997 and was placed under house arrest for life.

He later gave an interview saying his conscience was clear. He died in April 1998, aged 72, with his wife saying he passed away in his sleep.