See A Gator Bite An Electric Eel With 860 Volts

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Written by Angie Menjivar

Updated: November 9, 2023

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Electric Eel (Electrophorus Electricus) - in fresh water around tree roots
© tristan tan/

Maybe you’ve accidentally (or mischievously) tinkered with some low-voltage items like batteries or even an electric dog collar. The jolt you feel is frightening but not deadly. Consider a 9-volt battery. It’s often found in homes and can power toys and other electronic items. Now, consider what 860 volts could power. That’s how much power an electric eel can generate!

Typically, alligators are feared in the wild. They can easily grow to thirteen feet long and weigh over 1,000 lbs. When they’re in the water, they can swim up to 20 miles per hour with their tails serving as their propellers. When their mouths open up to chomp down on prey, it’s highly unlikely the prey can fight back — or get away.

This video explains that electric eels aren’t actually eels. They’re part of the knife fish family and are more closely related to a catfish or carp than a traditional eel. Electrophorus volti can produce up to 860 volts of power, allowing them to stun and kill their prey. The video goes on to explain how the eel’s body is capable of producing such strong currents of electricity.

electric eel incredible facts

Electrophorus volti can produce up to 860 volts of power, allowing them to stun and kill their prey.


The eel can magnify the electric charge it produces by slithering up and out of the water, pressing its chin against whatever creature has sparked its interest, be it a human or alligator, or something else. The video shows a German shepherd trying to take a bite out of an electric eel on a dirt trail just outside the water. The poor dog squeals and whimpers as it walks away, recovering and humiliated.

Then, the part you’ve been waiting for: the electric eel vs. the Amazon caiman. Sometimes, the warning pulses of the electric eel keep alligators from attempting an attack. They stop, convulsing for a few seconds, then gather themselves and retreat from this high-voltage creature.

However, there are instances when the Amazon caiman decides to take a bite out of an electric eel — that’s the kind of decision that calls for immediate regret. You watch as an alligator does just that; bites first and asks questions later. The alligator’s jaw locks shut on the electric eel, and they get stuck in a shocking stalemate.

With its jaw locked shut on the electrifying eel, the alligator’s muscles spasm wildly until its heart eventually stops. It doesn’t even get its last meal.

Is It Normal Behavior For An Electric Eel To Kill Predators?

Electric eel

An electric eel has the capacity to generate 860 volts of electricity, although no human has officially been declared dead by this eel.

© Mnasina

No human to date has officially been declared to have been killed by an electric eel, though there are unofficial reports that they have caused humans to drown or caused their hearts to stop through their powerful shocks. These eels do kill predators in the wild. In fact, as the video discusses, a recent research expedition in the Amazon region of Venezuela revealed a shocking fact. Electric eels actually hunt in packs and use teamwork to deliver super-charged shocks to subdue prey. Up to 100 eels at a time will encircle their victim and repeatedly shock them with massive amounts of electrical charge.

But how effective is a lone eel? The subspecies Electrophorus voltai has the capability to generate 860 volts of electricity. This amount of charge can kill an animal the size of a horse. This is no laughing matter. However, there aren’t many records of the electric eel in action.

How Large Do Electic Eels and Caiman Get?

Voltas electric eel Electrophorus voltai

These shocking animals are capable of growing to lengths of eight feet.

©C. David de Santana, William G. R. Crampton, Casey B. Dillman, Renata G. Frederico, Mark H. Sabaj, Raphaël Covain, Jonathan Ready, Jansen Zuanon, Renildo R. de Oliveira, Raimundo N. Mendes-Júnior, Douglas A. Bastos, Tulio F. Teixeira, Jan Mol, Willian Ohara, Natália Castro e Castro, Luiz A. Peixoto, Cleusa Nagamachi, Leandro Sousa, Luciano F. A. Montag, Frank Ribeiro, Joseph C. Waddell, Nivaldo M. Piorsky, Richard P. Vari & Wolmar B. Wosiacki, CC BY 4.0 – Original / License

There are three different types of electric eels – Electrophorus electricus, Electrophorus varii, and Electrophorus voltai. They are capable of growing up to lengths of six to eight feet, and may at times be even longer while they can weigh up to 44 pounds.

There are six different types of caiman – spectacled, broad-snouted, yacare, black, smooth-fronted, and dwarf and each one can grow to a range of lengths. They are all relatively small-sized reptiles with average lengths of 3.9 feet to 6.9 feet and average weights of 13 to 88 pounds. The largest of all the species is the black caiman, coming in at weights of more than 2,200 pounds and lengths of over 13 feet.

Other Jaw-Dropping Videos You Might Like

The giant croc ambles through the muddy water, its gaze intent on the “prize” dangled before it. The scaly giant seems oblivious to the sound of a woman’s laughter from the boat. Such is its focus on the morsel dangled at the end of the line, by a passenger on the nearby vessel.

The massive reptile crawls onto a rock, observes the bait, and then grasps the morsel with its powerful jaws at which point the video ends.

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About the Author

Angie Menjivar is a writer at A-Z-Animals primarily covering pets, wildlife, and the human spirit. She has 14 years of experience, holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology, and continues her studies into human behavior, working as a copywriter in the mental health space. She resides in North Carolina, where she's fallen in love with thunderstorms and uses them as an excuse to get extra cuddles from her three cats.

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