Animal of the day – 10/30/2015 – The Electric Eel

electric-eelThe animal of the day is the Electric Eel. (Did you know: Get ready for some shocking facts! [Sorry, some puns simply have to be used]

First of all, talk about misnomers, these aren’t even eels! They’re a member of the knifefish family!

Second, being electric ain’t easy! Electric knifefish (sorry, I just can’t call it an eel anymore) cram all of their body organs into about 20% of their body and use the rest for to make that amazing electric battery that can deliver up to 600 volts of electricity.

See that part called 'viscera' in the top part? That's ALL it's body orgrans!

See that part called ‘viscera’ in the top part? That’s ALL it’s body organs!

Now I’m no electrical engineer (ha! wait, I am!) but 600 volts can be compared to about 5 US standard household sockets which is are each 110 volts, or stepping on the third rail of a train line which is about 650 volts. And also, there’s also something to be said about amperage vs wattage, yada yada yada.

Either way, a shock from an electric knifefish can kill a human, though normally it’s not from stopping the heart or the fact that it can burn your skin, but from making you pass out so you drown. It ain’t the fall that kills you, it’s the stopping at the end.

Lastly, for reproduction the male electric knifefish truly spits game to get a female. In the dry season, a male electric knifefish makes a nest from his saliva into which the female lays her eggs. As many as 3,000 young hatch from the eggs in one nest.


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