Electric Eels Can be Shocking

Did you know that an electric eel can knock down a horse? Their bodies contain electric organs with about 6,000 specialized cells called electrolytes that store power like tiny batteries. When they feel threatened or are hunting prey, they can discharge all those cells at once and generate 600 volts in one burst. That is five times the power of a standard U.S. wall socket!

Although electric eels look like a snake, they are actually classified more like a carp or a catfish. The eels live in South America in freshwater streams and ponds, so you won't see them in Indiana except in a pet store or zoo. Their diet is mainly fish, but they also eat amphibians, birds and small mammals. Since they breathe air, they have to come to the surface regularly. Because of their poor eyesight, they emit a low-level electrical charge, less than 10 volts, which they use like radar to navigate and locate prey.

They can be very frightening because of their size. Eels can grow to more than 8 feet long and 44 pounds in weight. They have long, cylindrical bodies and flattened heads and are usually dark green or gray on top with yellowish coloring underneath.

It is extremely rare for an electric eel to kill a human, but multiple shocks can cause respiratory or heart failure, and people have been known to drown in shallow water after a stunning jolt. Let's all be glad they don't live in Indiana!

If you need service on electric eels in your aquarium, please don't call us -- we don't repair them. But we do service everything else that's electrical around your house, so you can call us for any of those items.