Electric Eels of the Amazon

These Unique Rainforest Creatures Shock Their Prey

by Alana Caire, age 11

An electric eel roams the waters, waiting for a largemouth bass to swim by. The eel waits hoping for a snack.  It patiently waits and finally reaches its prey.  The eel has a long rippling anal fin behind their tail that it can push in any direction. This animal can maneuver in the tightest corners.

The electric eel has a length of up to 10 feet and can weigh up to 88 lbs. They are like an animated battery. It is positive at its head and negative at its tail. The electric eel lives in the Amazon and Orinoco river systems in the rainforests of tropical South America. Its main concentrations are in Venezuela and Brazil. Its preferred habitats are marshland areas, shallow pools and stagnant areas of water. 

The way they sense their prey is unique. The eel has pits lined with sensory cells that help them sense their prey by detecting distortion in electrical fields caused by other animals. They sense their prey and then get ready to shock. The positive and negative parts on their body charge up and when the prey is near them, they shock it to death.

An electric eel’s sting is like a high voltage electric shock. Its power can kill a human or even a horse. When it shocks its prey, it stuns the nerves in the body of the victim, stopping it in its tracks. These movements provoke more shocks, which stops its prey’s heart from beating. The eel either eats the animal or leaves it to decompose.

Both the parents take part in parenting of the newborn eels.

If you find yourself near the Amazon River, make sure to be cautious of these high-voltage creatures.

[Source: Sharks and other Creatures of the Deep]