E is for Electric Eel
This image of incredible electric eels is by Walknboston on Flikr.
Electric eels are actually not eels at all but a type of fish similar to a catfish – they can reach 8 feet in length.
They live in muddy streams that feed into and in the Amazon and Orinoco rivers in South America.
They are extraordinary killers. Their bodies have about 6,000 specialised cells, each one of which can store electric energy just like a battery. If they are threatened, or if they want to stun prey (mainly fish) they discharge each cell at once producing a charge of about 6ooV, which is five times the power of a US power socket and two and a half times that of a UK power socket.
They have poor sight but can detect prey by using a low charge electrical radar.
All in all you wouldn’t want to meet one – human deaths by electric eel are relatively rare, but they can cause a person to have heart failure and die by drowning after being stunned.
Here is my electric eel poem:
More powerful than
an electric socket,
this eel will choose
its prey then shock it,
600 volts of
stored in its cells
for assault by battery.
© Liz Brownlee
Image by Walknboston on Flikr by Creative Commons licence.
Prose and Poem © Liz Brownlee, all rights reserved, poem not to be used, or any part of it, in any manner whatsoever without the permission of the author.