First off, the electric eel is a misnomer as they aren’t actually eels at all, but rather a member of the knife fish family. Electric eels are one of 500 types of fish that are able to produce electrical currents. They live in shallow, muddy areas of the Amazon and Orinoco rivers in South America. These creatures are not protected and they are listed as Least Concern, by the IUCN. Read more on these shocking critters and don’t forget to share and comment!
First the Stats…
Scientific name: Electrophorus electricus
Weight: Up to 44 lbs.
Length: Up to 8 feet
Lifespan: Up to 22 years
Now on to the Facts!
1.) These critters actually have lungs and they need to surface in order to breathe.
2.) They use this electrical current capability not only for defense but to stun prey, like fish and invertebrates.
3.) Their organs are only in the front 20% of their bodies. The rest of their bodies pack up to 6,000 electricity generating cells called electrocytes.
4.) How do they not shock themselves, you ask? Their thick skin insulates them from their own shocks. If injured though and their skin broken they are able to shock themselves.
5.) Typically solitary a group of these creatures is called a swarm.
But wait, there’s more on the electric eel!
6.) Their shocks are strong enough to stun a crocodile and take down a horse. Now that’s some shocking news!
7.) The electric eel uses low voltage (around 10 volts) bursts to help them see in the murky water as their eyesight isn’t well developed.
Did you know…?
Electric eels are capable of generating around 600 volts of electricity. This is 5x stronger than a standard electrical outlet.
8.) Males use their saliva to make nests for the female’s eggs. Females lay up to 17,000 eggs! Both parents take part in rearing their young.