Electric Eel : Great Lakes Aquarium

Electric Eel

Exhibits: Amazing Amazon

Animal Groups: Fish

Latin Name: Electrophorus electricus

Fish, amphibians, crustaceans


Prefers muddy river bottoms and swamps, usually in areas of dark shade. Obligate air breathers, these fish can withstand even the most poorly oxygenated water.

Animal Size: Up to 8 feet (2.5 m)

Natural History

These unique hunters are not actually eels – technically, they are members of the knife fish family! You can tell by the long, fluttery fin that runs the length of their bodies, which allows them to move forward and backward with ease.

Not only unique for their ability to stun prey with electricity, these fish also breathe air with their mouths and skin (not their gills!), allowing them to survive long periods of time out of water.