electric eel (Electrophorus electricus) it is an aquatic animal native to the waters of South America (Orinoco and the Amazon River). They have the ability to produce a 500-volt electrical discharge at a distance of approximately 76 meters in calm water. Its discharge is so powerful that it damages any heavy mammal, it can even cause its death, as narrated by Alexander von Humboldt, a famous explorer of the XNUMXth century, who witnessed how horses received such strong shocks throughout their bodies that they died instantly .

electric eel
electric eel


Electric eels are capable of growing in size up to 2,5 meters and have a sophisticated circulatory system, therefore they only need to surface once every 10 minutes.

Electric eels are more closely related to cat fish that common eels, at their highest growth rate, are generally smaller than common eels.

80% of your body is designed to create electricity by pulsing electrons between two points. The electricity used to overwhelm their prey can be up to 650 volts, and not only that, they can also generate a low-level electric field with which to detect the position of their prey like radar.

The main organ, the Sachs organ and the Hunter organ, which is close to your spineThey are the main ones in charge of producing the electricity used by the electric eel and they do not stay near any vital organ, thus allowing it to survive such discharges.


Electric eels are freshwater animals and reside in the Orinoco and Amazon river basins (Central America), swamps, streams and coastal plains. The waters must be lentic (Stagnant and calm waters) and muddy, where they practically hunt most of the time.


The young of the electric eel feed on other young, embryos and small mollusks. Adults are primarily carnivores and feed on birds and small mammals. They can also feed on Invertebrate animals o amphibians.


Electric eels have an unusual breeding system. In the dry season a male electric eel forms a nest with its saliva in which the female lays its eggs. They can hatch up to 17 young in a single nest.

These newly hatched electric eels feed on small invertebrates located near the riverbank but it is not difficult to see them eating batches of other electric eel eggs.

These young eels feed mainly on invertebrates found in the river bed; however, newly hatched baby eels are known to gobble up the eggs of batches of other electric eels that were laid shortly thereafter.


A major predator of freshwater eels is the human. It is a popular food in many Asian countries, such as Japan. Sushi is a type of food that is made mainly of fish and rice.

When American and European eels are young and live in a saltwater environment, they are often eaten by larger eels, fish y birds as they head to the fresh water where they will live their lives.

Scientists have been studying freshwater eels to try to learn more about them. They caught many eels and tagged them. They were surprised when most of the eels they had tagged were eaten by porbeagle sharks.

American and European adult eels live in rivers, streams, ponds, and lakes, so their predators are animals that live in the same habitat. These include large birds that eat fish, such as Eagles, herons, cormorants and ospreys. Freshwater eels are also consumed by some mammals that feed on fish, such as raccoons.

State of conservation

The IUCN organization marks its threat as Least Concern as it is capable of keeping predators at bay thanks to its ability to provide electrical currents, yet they are threatened by collectors and sellers.

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