Eel Facts

Eel facts and information
Eels may look like a snake but they are actually fish. There are over 400 different species of eel, including an electric eel, and they are known to travel as far as 4,000 miles to breed. Eel is a delicacy in some cultures but it's blood is toxic so it needs to be cooked thoroughly. Keep reading for more interesting facts about eels.
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  • There are over 400 species of eel.
  • Eels live in both saltwater and fresh water.
  • Even though the eel looks like a snake it is really a fish. They have long, narrow bodies with long dorsal and anal fins. Most eels have no scales. The eel’s backbone is made up of over 100 vertebrae which makes it very flexible.
  • Eels have gills and very sharp teeth.
  • Most eels hide and live in caves and rock crevices. They also burrow in the sand. These behaviors allow them to surprise and attack their prey. Some eels will actually chase their prey. The rocks also provide protection for the eel.
  • Some species of eels travel up to 4,000 miles to breed. This journey can take the eel over seven months to finish. While on the journey, the eel doesn’t eat.
  • After the eel breeds, it dies. It takes a young eel three years to become an adult.
  • Eels begin life as a flat, transparent larvae. Eel larvae drift in the surface waters of the sea feeding on dissolved nutrients. Eel larvae change into glass eels and again into elvers before finally becoming an adult.
  • Most moray eels average 5 feet in length. The largest species, the slender giant moray eel, can grow to 13 feet in length.
  • Eel is a delicacy in many cultures. The eel must must be cooked thoroughly because its blood is toxic.
  • The electric eel is a South American freshwater fish found mainly in the Amazon River basin. The electric charge is produced by special organs along the sides of the eel’s body.
  • The electric discharge from an electric eel can be stronger than 500 volts. The eel uses the electric charge against its predators and to catch its prey.