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Electric Eels (Electrophorus electricus) grow to a huge 2metres in length and weigh a hefty 20kg. Despite the name, they are not an eel, but they are actually closest to the catfish family.

They live in the shallow waters of fresh rivers in South America such as the Amazon. They prefer the shallow waters because they actually breath air, so must come to the surface every 10-15minutes to breath.

Strange Fact: To reproduce, females give birth to thousands of eggs during the dry season into a nest made out of the male’s saliva!

Electric Eels interestingly have three different organs that produce electricity, together generating a low or high voltage as required. These organs are so large they make up four fifths of the animal’s body, leaving just one fifth of the body for the rest of their vital organs, which are all stored just behind the head of the animal.

They have poor eyesight so use their low voltage electric receptors to guide them and to find prey, hence why they can happily live in muddy, stagnant waters. Incredibly they can produce low level intermittent electric currents for over an hour without tiring.

Their high voltage can reach up to 600 volts, perfect to wade off predators and to stun prey before eating them! They choose to eat invertebrates, small fish and even some small mammals such as rats.

Type

Fish

What do they eat?

Invertebrates and small fish

Size

2metres

Water Type

Shallow Fresh Water

Where are we?

South America

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