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Electric Eel

Electric Eel Facts

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassActinopterygii
OrderGymnotiformes
FamilyGymnotidae
GenusElectrophorus
Scientific NameElectrophorus Electricus
TypeFish
DietCarnivore
Size (L)2.5m (8.22ft)
Weight20kg (44lbs)
Top Speed8 km/h (5mph)
Life Span15 - 22 years
LifestyleSolitary
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
ColourBlack, White, Purple, Blue
Skin TypeScales
Favourite FoodFish
HabitatRiver in the Amazon
Average Clutch Size20,000
Main PreyFish, Birds, Small mammals
PredatorsHuman
Distinctive FeaturesLong body and organs that produce and electric current

Electric Eel Location

Map of Electric Eel Locations
Map of South America

Electric Eel

Electric Eels are found in the waters of South America, and are capable of generating a 500volt electric shock through 28ft of still water. The shock that the electric eel produces is enough to harm any large mammal, including humans.

Electric eels can grow up to 2.5 metres and only need to surface for air every 10 minutes due to the eels complex circulatory system. Electric eels tend to live in muddy beds in calm water, eating fish and small mammals.

Despite the name electric eel, the electric eel is actually related most closely to a catfish and not the common eel fish and many electric eel adults tend to be smaller than their eel fish counterparts.

The electricity that the electric eel uses to shock its prey, is produced in pairs of organs that are found in the abdomen of the electric eel. These electricity producing organs take up around of 80% of the body of the electric eel leaving only 20% of the electric eels body free to hold the electric eels vital organs that it needs to survive.

Electric eels are found inhabiting fresh waters of the Amazon and Orinoco river basins in South America, and the electric eels tend to prefer the river floodplains, swamps, coastal plains, and creeks. Electric eels tend to live on muddy bottoms in calm water and in stagnant arms of rivers, where the electric eel spends most of its time hunting.

The electric eel is also known for its unusual breeding behaviour. In the dry season, a male electric eel makes a nest from his saliva into which the female electric eel lays her eggs. As many as 17,000 young electric eels will hatch from the eggs in one nest. These young electric eels feed mainly on invertebrates found on the river bed, however, first-born baby electric eels have been known to gobble up the eggs from batches of other electric eels that were laid only a short time after themselves.