Despite its eel-like appearance, the electric eel is not an eel but a knife fish. Because the electric eel is largely blind, it orientates itself in space by means of weak electric currents. The reflection of these electric currents shows the electric eel if there are obstacles or prey about. Violent surges of up to 500 volts are capable of killing fish and other living creatures. These are produced using three pairs of muscles which have developed into organs for the generation of electrical energy and which take up a large part of the eel’s body. The total of up to 6,000 electric cells (electrocytes) reach the amperage of 0.83 ampere with the power output of 415 watts, occasionally up to 1 ampere and 600 watts. Electric eels can give off violent electric shocks continuously or occasionally for an hour without getting very tired.
|Closest relatives||New World knifefish, knifeeels (33 species)|
|Habitat||muddy and oxygen-starved lakes and rivers|
|Behaviour||nocturnal, solitary, kills or paralyzes prey with electric shocks|
|Diet||Fish, small mammals, worms, crabs, insect larvae|
|Body length||Males up to 2.5 m, females smaller|
|Weight||up to 20 kg|
|Spawn||Male builds a nest of mucus, in which the female lays the eggs, male guards the nest, up to 3,000 young animals|
|Life expectancy||15 to 22 years|
|Use||for scientific study, rarely fishing|
|Current status||common, stable|
|At Zurich Zoo since||1954|
How much electricity does an electric eel produce?
Power output:415 watt
This power could be used to light a Christmas tree for a short time. However, this would be more of a flashing rather than a continuous light.
Electricity supply at zurich zoo
ewz supplies green electricity to Zoo Zürich. This power is generated using sustainable water, wind and solar energy.
|I. Gomringer, Zürich|
|R. Ackermann, Hittnau|
|R. + E. Haag-Felber, Wettingen|
|U. Uttinger, Zürich|
|St. Kündig, Zug|
|A. Bürzle, Balzers|
|N. E. Besomi, Uster|