Deep Sea Battles: Can the World’s Largest Electric Eel Take Down a Blue Whale?

Written by Larissa Smith
Published: July 19, 2023
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The world’s largest electric eel vs. a blue whale? If you’re a fan of comparing epic battles between some of your favorite aquatic animals, then this post is for you. If the world’s largest electric eel came face to face with a blue whale, which would take the crown?

The world’s largest electric eel and blue whales have extremely different physical attributes, feeding habits, and habitats. Electric eels are solitary hunters that survive in freshwater, while blue whales are filter feeders in the deep blue. Let’s dig in and compare how these two creatures will fair in an epic battle!

Comparing a Barracuda vs. Blue Whale

World’s Largest Electric EelBlue Whale
SizeLength: 8 feet
Weight: 48.5 lbs
Length: 100 feet
Weight: 350,000 lbs
Speed2.4 mph20 mph
DefensesRelease electric shock to defend themselves.Body size and blubber is an excellent defense in an attack.
Offenses– Discharge an electric shock that reaches 860 volts to stun prey.
– They use an anal fin to propel themselves through the water.
– Ambush capabilities.
– Wrap their body around large prey to increase shock.
– Slap their tail on the surface of the water to scare predators.
– Make loud noises to disorient a predator.
– High endurance.
Predatory Behavior– Displays aggressive behavior.
– Relies on agility and speed.
Use their large mouth to catch thousands of fish in one big mouthful.
Comparison table between the world’s largest electric eel and a blue whale.
Electric eel
E. voltai

can emit an electric shock of 860 volts!

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© Mnasina

What Are the Key Differences Between the World’s Largest Electric Eel and a Blue Whale

The largest species of electric eel is Electrophorus voltai, also known as the Volta’s Electric Eel. 19th-Century Italian physicist Alessandro Volta invented the battery and inspired the eel’s name E. voltai. This massive electric eel can discharge an impressive electric shock that reaches 860 volts.

E. voltai can grow to a maximum of 8 feet long and is identifiable by its flat, wide head and long body. However, you won’t find this eel species in the ocean. They are native to the Amazonian rivers in South America. The murky waters make for the perfect hiding place for these predators. Electric eels are smooth and slimy with a snake-like appearance.

The blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) is the largest and loudest animal on the planet. They are marine animals native to all oceans across the world, except the Arctic, and can live in solitary or in groups, especially during the breeding season.

Blue whales are gigantic, weighing 220,000 – 350,000 pounds, and 100 feet long! They are blueish-grey with a smooth texture and a long, elongated body. In addition, they have a dorsal fin close to their tail and a broad, flat head.

What do blue whales eat

A blue whale’s tongue is the size of an




What Are the Key Factors in a Fight Between the World’s Largest Electric Eel and a Blue Whale

When determining whether the world’s largest electric eel can take down a blue whale, we must compare their speed, offense and defense capabilities, size, and behavior.

E. voltai vs. Blue Whale: Size

There are three species of electric eel, including the electric eel, Vari’s electric eel, and Volta’s electric eel being the largest. The E. voltai can reach 8 feet long and weigh around 48.5 pounds. They have an elongated anal fin that allows them to move and propel themselves through the water. E. voltai thrive in various bodies of water, such as swamps, pools of water, rivers, and streams.

Blue whales are exceptionally large. They can reach up to 100 feet long and weigh 350,000 pounds. These giants of the sea’s tail can grow 25 feet wide, about the size of a soccer goalpost, and produces enormous force. A blue whale’s mouth is massive. Its tongue alone is the size of an elephant.

When we consider the electric eel and blue whale, a notable distinction is their sizes. The electric eel is no match for the blue whale – the largest living creature today.

E. voltai vs. Blue Whale: Speed and Movement

Volta’s electric eel, the largest electric eel, can swim at a top speed of 2.4 mph in the water. They use their anal fin to create wave-like movements to swim through the water. Blue whales travel about 5 mph but can swim 20 mph in short bursts if needed.

Both the electric eel and blue whales travel at low speeds. However, the blue whale can far exceed the electric eel if it needs to escape.

Electric Eel Close-Up
E. voltai

is the largest electric eel species growing up to 8 feet long.


E. voltai vs. Blue Whale: Defenses

Electric eels use their electrical shock capabilities as a defense and an offense. They produce a shock of up to 860 volts to dissuade predators. Their body allows them to leap out of the water to chase away a predator in a high-voltage attack. Electric eels hide in murky waters to hide themselves as it makes them difficult to spot.

Blue whales’ tails are large, but so are their bodies. Their body shape allows them to cut through water with each stroke of their tail. Their giant tails are also used to defend themselves. They do what is known as lobtailing. This involves slapping their tail on the surface of the water to threaten predators. In addition to lobtailing, blue whales have thick blubber, which protects them from attacks and injuries.

The largest electric eel can emit 860 volts of electric shock to stun its prey. However, blue whales have thick layers of blubber that can possibly absorb the shock and protect the whale.

E. voltai vs. Blue Whale: Offensive Capabilities

Electric eels are carnivores that eat various animals, such as crustaceans, fish, amphibians, small mammals, and reptiles. They use fast, high-voltage pulses that can paralyze their prey. Its electric shocks can be painful and kill its prey instantly. If the shock doesn’t kill the prey, it will immobilize them enough for the eel to devour them.

Electric eels use the element of surprise to catch their prey. They produce short, high-frequency electric pulses when in an attack. These shocks also act as a radar to locate their victim without using their sight. In addition, electric eels can curl themselves around their prey, which can double the electric shock it gives off, making it easier to consume.

An aerial shot of a Blue Whale.

The largest blue whale ever recorded was captured in 1947 and weighed 418,878 pounds.

©NOAA Photo Library / Flickr

Blue whales are known as gentle giants. The only predators it has are orcas and humans. While orca attacks are rare, the main concern to blue whales is humans, as they kill more than 1,500 per year. Blue whales are filter feeders, meaning they swim through large groups of krill and use the bristles in their mouths to filter out larger fish they can’t swallow. They have no teeth and can’t bite or chew to ward off an attacker.

Blue whales have high endurance capabilities. Scientists have observed orcas attacking a blue whale for hours, and the whale survived.

The offensive capabilities of an electric eel beat a blue whale. Blue whales have no teeth to bite, can only swim in a forward motion, and tend to swim away in an attack. Electric eels can deliver an exceptional shock that can stun and kill its victim.

Electric Eel (Electrophorus Electricus) - in fresh water around tree roots

Electric eels can leap out of water and shock land animals.

©tristan tan/

E. voltai vs. Blue Whale: Predatory Behavior

Electric eels display aggressive behavior to protect themselves from attacks. They move with speed and agility, making them difficult to observe. This is an excellent way to not only defend themselves but attack.

Blue whales don’t have predatory behavior. Although they are often solitary giants of the sea, they can be found swimming and feeding in groups. Blue whales open their large mouths and fill them with thousands of krill in one mouthful when feeding.

If the fight between an electric eel and a blue whale is based on predatory behavior alone, the electric eel will be crowned the winner. Their aggressive behavior and electric shock can be effective techniques in surprising their opponent.

Can the World’s Largest Electric Eel Take Down a Blue Whale?

A blue whale’s sheer size, weight, and strength make them untouchable by the electric eel. Therefore, the world’s largest electric eel cannot take down a blue whale. Blue whales can swim faster, endure a chase or battle for longer, and produce sounds that can cause attacking creatures to move away in defense.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Rich Carey/

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About the Author

Larissa Smith is a writer for A-Z Animals with years of experience in plant care and wildlife. After years spent in the South African bush while studying Nature Conservation, she found her way to writing about animals and plants in her work. She hopes to inspire others to appreciate and care for the precious world around them. Larissa lives in Florida with her two sons, a miniature golden retriever named Pupples, and a colorful succulent garden. In her spare time, she is tending to her garden, adventuring with her kids, and hosting “Real Housewives” watch parties with her friends.

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