How Many Bulbs Can You Light?
ABOUT THE ELECTRIC EEL
The electric eel is a freshwater predator. It is capable of generating powerful electric shocks,
which it uses for both hunting and self-defence. Despite its name it is not an eel but rather a
Knifefish. They live in the murky streams and ponds of the Amazon and Orinoco basins of
South America tropical regions.
As air-breathers, they must come to the surface frequently. They also have poor eyesight,
but can emit a low-level charge, less than 10 volts, which they use like radar to navigate and
The higher intensity charges vary by the size of the eel. Smaller eels can produce charges of
up to 100 V, while larger eels produce charges of 450 to 650 volts of electricity.
The electric organs of the eel are located in its tail, which is most the body.
The electric organs are used many different ways by the electric eel. The low intensity
impulses are used by the eel for sensory perception. This helps it navigate in its habitat
(muddy streams) where vision is blocked. The low intensity impulses are also used for
Electric eels can reach 8 feet (2.5 meters) in length and 44 pounds (20 kilograms) in weight.
They have long, cylindrical bodies and flattened heads (like the cat fish) and are generally
dark green or grayish on top with yellowish coloring underneath.
Human deaths from electric eels are rare. However, multiple shocks can cause respiratory or
heart failure and people have been known to drown in shallow water after a stunning jolt.
A 20-foot eel can produce enough electrical current to light 12 household light bulbs.