The electric eel

The electric eel is an electric fish, and the only species in its genus. Despite the name, it is not an eel, but rather a knifefish

  • Eels aren’t snakes at all but a type of fish that lack pelvic and pectoral fin.
  • Electric eels inhabit fresh waters of the Amazon and Orinoco River basins in South America, in floodplains, swamps, creeks, small rivers, and coastal plains. They often live on muddy bottoms in calm or stagnant waters.
  • Electric eels are solitary animals (live on their own). Group of eels is called swarm.
  • Electric eels are one of the 500 types of fish that are capable of producing electricity
  • Electric eel has around 6000 cells (known as electrocyte) that produce electricity.
  • They can generate a power of 600 volts.
  • Electric eel lives around 15 years in the wild and up to 22 years in captivity.

Can you be killed by an electric eel?

A full-grown electric eel can generate about 600 volts of electricity. … Although there are few documented instances of people dying from an electric eel’s shock, it could happen. A single jolt could incapacitate a person long enough to cause him or her to drown, even in shallow water.



  • The electric eel has three pairs of abdominal organs that produce electricity: the main organ, the Hunter’s organ, and the Sach’s organ. These organs make up four-fifths of its body, and give the electric eel the ability to generate two types of electric organ discharges: low voltage and high voltage. These organs are made of electrocytes, lined up so a current of ions can flow through them and stacked so each one adds to a potential difference.
  • When the eel finds its prey, the brain sends a signal through the nervous system to the electrocytes. This opens the ion channels, allowing sodium to flow through, reversing the polarity momentarily. By causing a sudden difference in electric potential, it generates an electric current in a manner similar to a battery, in which stacked plates each produce an electric potential difference.


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