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Electric Eel

  • Order: Gymnotiformes
  • Family: Gymotidae
  • Genus: Electrophorus
  • Species: electricus
Fun Fact

Electric Eels can produce up to 600 volts in electric discharge. 

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About Electric Eels 

Although this animal is closely related to catfish and is not considered a true eel, they look similar to eels due to their long, cylindrical snake-like shape. Electric eels are nocturnal, freshwater fish and can grow to be nine feet in length and weigh 45 pounds!

Although electric eels have gills, they swim to the surface every few minutes for air. These fish lack teeth and good eyesight but have strong electrical charges which produce high-voltage pulses used for self-defense and hunting prey. 

Electric Eels in the Wild


These freshwater fish are commonly found in rivers, swamps, creeks and coastal plains. They live on muddy bottoms to camouflage themselves from prey.


Electric eels are found in South America, most commonly in the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers.


Baby eels consume shrimp, crab and even the eggs of eels that haven’t hatched yet. Mature electric eels feed most commonly on fish, but also consume amphibians and small mammals.

Population Status

Common; least concern