Scientist Subjects Himself to an Electric Eel Attack for Scientific Experiment


There is no secret behind that electric eel is a dangerous species not to be messed with. It is capable of generating an electric attack of more than 800 volts. On the other hand, land-lubbing assailants are very dangerous and are not safe either. As the eel is able to breach out of the water like very high voltage snakes, landing on the attackers and also dispensing a Taser-like jolt.

But you will be shocked to hear about the new research published in a paper in Current Biology. They have revealed the key details of how the eel execute this very high electric lunge. They also told about how bad the jolt can be and discoveries relied on the bravery and right arm of the scientist. The behavior of eel was also reported by the German naturalist Alexander Von Humboldt about 200 years ago. The discoverer described watching electric eels leap out of a thin pool to electrify wild horses that had been herded into the water as eel bait.


The Catania observed something very similar a few years ago in his own lab: when he stretched into their tanks with a net, at this time, the eels would first try to excuse the mesh. Then, they had leaped at the handle of a net, unbridling crackling volleys of electricity. This behavior made him doubtful that the shocking dives were a way for the eels to protect themselves against land predators.

Then, Catania has spent a lot of years by studying this creature and he shocked by the behavior, almost seemed like destiny in a very weird way.

So Leaping shudders in the air are more influential than the shocks eels can carry in the water. Because when an eel presses its jaw against its prey to deliver a shock, electricity flows through the eel to the goal. But in this way, water carries electricity, so if the eel’s still flooded when it delivers the shock, the charge disperses. When the eel’s flying, more of the electrical current flows through its victim.

He shocked with the experiment and it took about 10 attempts to get enough good reading for the new paper. Sao with every attempt, Catania found himself involuntarily jerking his hand out of the water. But he was able to determine about 40 to 50 milli-amperes of electric shock through his arms. He also wrote that, about four to five times what it takes to make a person jolt away from a tender shock.

Not bad, Bruce Carlson said that it was a clever experimental setup, a sensory and evolutionary neuroscientist at Washington University in St. Louis, in an email to The Verge. ‘So it appears that what makes the eel’s bounding behavior real is that it persuades intense pain that is sufficient to frighten off a possible predator.” But, he adds, it is significant to keep in mind that this is just one eel and just one subject. Therefore, ‘these dimensions should be considered ballpark estimates of the effect of this behavior on possible predators.


At the end, the paper is a start to closing the circuit on this shocking behavior of electric eel.