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Fin-tastic Facts About The Eel For Kids

Electric eel facts about the freshwater fish

Eels are ray-finned fishes that belong to the family Anguillidae and comprises eight suborders. Eels are marine creatures ranging from 0.2-13 ft in length. Most of the freshwater eels are found in the shallow waters of the oceans and reside near the floor along the sand or against the rocks. There are various types of eels that are found in various oceans and water bodies such as freshwater eels, glass eels, moray eels, and others. American eels have a life cycle ranging from 5-15 years wherein their life starts and ends at the Sargasso Sea, which is located in the Atlantic Ocean towards the east of the Bahamas. When it comes to European eels, the life cycle can extend up to 80 years and there have been reported cases of European eels living up to 155 years.

Eels are different externally from other fishes because of their elongated body that is laterally compressed. Moray eels have a continuous dorsal fin, caudal fin, and anal fin that goes on till the tail tip. The body that covers the fish is usually scale-less. People in Japan also eat eels as part of their diet. Here are some interesting facts about the eel fish which you will certainly enjoy. After reading these, do check out our articles on moray eel and cuttlefish facts too.  

Eel Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an eel?

Eel is a fish that belongs to the genus Anguilla rostrata. It belongs to the category of fish. They are different types of fish that look very distincr and are long in size. Compared to other marine creatures, eels have reduced openings for the gills.

What class of animal does an eel belong to?

Eels belong to the animal class Actinopterygii. The females can lay up to four million eggs in one go and die shortly after laying the eggs.

How many eels are there in the world?

The exact number of eels in the world is not accurate. There are over 800 eel species in the world. The number of eels is not known but there are many species of eels in the world and they differ accordingly.

Where does an eel live?

Eels mostly like to live in shallow waters and also in sand, mud, or rocks. They also live together in holes or eel pits. The life span of eels varies greatly to their origin and their life span in captivity is significantly longer than those living in the ocean.

What is an eel's habitat?

The habitat of an eel is shallow ocean waters, burrows, sand, mud or rocks, and sometimes also a hole or eel pit. They are found in European as well as American regions.

Who do eels live with?

They usually like to be alone without anybody. There are garden eels that live in groups of hundreds of eels. Eels usually love to enjoy their own company instead of living with someone else.

How long does an eel live?

The life span of an American eel is between 15-20 years while that of a European eel can extend up to 80 years. They are a species that live for long in fresh water and come back to the sea to breed. The male eels live in freshwaters for 12 years, and the female eels live for about 18 years. The life span depends on different factors such as environmental changes and also its surroundings. Eels can be found in the sea as well as the oceans.

How do they reproduce?

The females release their eggs, the males fertilize them, and then the adults die after spawning them. After this is done, the eggs hatch into larvae which float to the surface and drift back. They usually take 17 months to arrive.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of eels is not extinct as there are about 800 species of the same ray-finned fishes. As per the IUCN red list, the European eel's conservation status is listed as Critically Endangered.

Eel Fun Facts

What do eels look like?

Eels resemble the shape of a snake, but they are fishes. They live in saltwater as well as in freshwater. People often mistake eels for snakes because of their bodies. Their body shape is narrow and has long dorsal fins and anal fins.

Electric eel prefer feeding on a diet of small fish, worms, and mollusks.

How cute are they?

Eels are fascinating and could be cute once you get to know them better. Though, they are perhaps more scary than cute with their long snake-like body and teeth. They can attack humans when they feel threatened so you should be careful when you go around them as they can attack you if they feel stressed.

How do they communicate?

Electric eels communicate by using low electric organ discharges. As they cannot talk, they use electric organ discharges to communicate their message to the other eels. As they cannot communicate like other creatures, they communicate through the electric discharges that are sent from their body.

How big is an eel?

The size of an eel can extend beyond 2 m and they are long and big as compared to other species of fishes. They are a few inches longer as compared to the other species of eels.

How fast can an eel swim?

The eels can swim fast at the speed of 2.5 mph. As marine animals, they have the ability to swim backward as well by reversing the direction of the waves.

How much does an eel weigh?

The weight of a European eel can go up to 8 lb and the weight of an American eel can go up to 10 lb.

What are their male and female names of the species?

The male is known as male eel and the females are known as female eel. There are no specific gender names for eels.

What would you call a baby eel?

A baby eel is called an elver.

What do they eat?

They are carnivorous and are meat-eaters. Their diet comprises different types of sea animals. Some of the animals that they prefer to eat are small fishes, mollusks, and worms.

Are they dangerous?

Yes, eels are one of the most dangerous fish in the ocean. They are said to attack humans when they are disturbed. They have rigid teeth and a jaw that is sharp which enables them to grab and hold on to their prey. But eels also face danger from various predators. The top predators that hunt eels are sharks and fish-eating birds.

Would they make a good pet?

No, they would not make a good pet as they are one of the most dangerous fish, and also, they need salt water to sustain themselves. They would also be very expensive creatures to care for. You cannot keep them as pets as they need to migrate to saltwater eventually for their habitat.

Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.

Did you know...

The eel’s backbone is made up of over 100 vertebrates which makes it very flexible to move. They hide in burrows which makes it easy for them to surprise and attack other creatures. There are different species of eels that travel up to 4,000 mi to breed.

There are different types of eels that are used in Japan and China for their cuisine and are very popular to eat there. Eels are also eaten in Europe, the United States, and other places. It seems that eels are tasty. Although, the blood of eels is hazardous to humans and other different species. However, its toxicity and the poisonous blood are boiled away while cooking. Due to the overconsumption of eels in Europe, eels have become critically endangered.

What does eel taste like?

Sweet, firm-fleshed, and a bit like bass. It should be soft, fluffy, and flaky. It is common in Japan to see the consumption of freshwater eels and marine eels. They are used as a source of food, mainly in cuisines like unadon and unaju. These Japanese foods are common but are quite expensive. In China, eels are also consumed by many and are a popular food option there. Eels are, in fact, rice in vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids too.

Can you get eel ice cream?

Yes, you can get eel ice cream in Japan in different flavors. There are some ice-cream distributors that select the native eels that are bred in clear water. The ice-cream is unique and is found only in Japan. Surprisingly, some people also eat eel pie and eel sauce.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish including electric eel, or wolf eel.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Eel coloring pages.

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