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Electric Eel

The electric eel (Electrophorus electricus) is an electrical fish, and the only species of the genus Electrophorus. It is capable of generating powerful electric shocks, which it uses for both hunting and self-defense.

Size: Up to 91 inches long

Life Span: The average lifespan of the Electric Eel is 15 years in the wild.

Color: Olive - dark brown

Continent: South America

Range: Countries bordering the Amazon and Orinoco rivers and their basins.

Habitat: Fresh water marshy areas or stagnant arms of rivers- areas where other fishes find it difficult to live because of the deficiency of dissolved oxygen.

Food: Other fish, killing them with electric shock

Reproduction: They are oviparous, and both parents look after and protect the young.

Fun Facts: Electric eels can fatally electrocute a horse. The vital organs are located immediately behind the head - the other 7/8 of its body is tail, containing the electrically generating organs. The electric eel has three different organs that can generate electric organ discharges, or EODs. These organs are called the Sach’s organ, main organ, and Hunter’s organ. The Sach’s organ emits low-voltage EODs with a maximum of 25 discharges per second, which is a frequency of 25 Hz. The electric eel uses these low-voltage EODs for electro location, much like radar, to find their way through the murky water and locate prey. The main organ and Hunter’s organ emit high-voltage EODs, and can emit a maximum of several hundred EODs per second, or several hundred Hz. When an electric eel feels threatened or is attacking prey, it sends out a high-voltage EOD of about 600 volts. 

These organ are composed of 5000-6000 elements, arranged like a dry battery. The head acts as the positive pole of the battery, the tail as the negative pole. When the eel is at rest there is no generation of electricity, but when it starts to move it emits electrical impulses. Small animals within range are killed outright, while large mammals may become dazed and drown. A human can withstand one discharge, but would not survive several.