9 Shocking Facts About Electric Eels

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The lying starts with their name.

1. Electric eels aren’t actually eels. They’re members of the knife fish family.

2. The critters are native to South American rivers, but they don’t spend all their time underwater. They have to come to the surface to breathe.

3. All of an electric eel’s vital organs are crammed into the front 20 percent of its body. The rest is packed with 6000 cells that act like tiny batteries.

4. With that much body devoted to electricity, it’s no wonder an eel can zap out more than 600 volts!

5. An eel’s voltage is great for defense, but it also comes in handy for stunning prey, mostly crustaceans and small fish.

6. Electric eels can’t see what they’re shocking. They’re mostly blind and use a radarlike system of electrical pulses to navigate and find food.

7. Eels’ thick skin normally insulates them from their own attacks, but when wounded, they’ll shock themselves!

8. A fully grown electric eel can be up to eight feet long and weigh 44 pounds!

9. Fatal attacks on humans are rare, but that doesn’t mean eels are harmless. People have drowned after being shocked.

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