Eel Facts



  • Eels are long, slimy fish that look like snakes.
  • Baby eels are called elvers.
  • Some eels live in rivers, but most live in the sea, including moray eels and conger eels.
  • Moray eels are huge and live in tropical waters, where they hunt fish, squid and cuttlefish.
  • Gulper eels can live more than 7,500 m down in the Atlantic Ocean. Their mouths are huge to help them catch food in the dark, deep water — so big that they can swallow fish larger than themselves whole.
  • Every autumn, some European common eels migrate more than 7,000 km, from the Baltic Sea in Europe to the Sargasso Sea near the West Indies to lay their eggs.
  • Migrating eels are thought to find their way partly by detecting weak electric currents created by the movement of the water.
  • When European eels hatch in the Sargasso Sea they are carried northeast by the ocean current, developing as they go into tiny transparent eels known as glass eels.
  • The electric eels of South America can produce an electric shock of over 500 volts — enough to knock over an adult human.
  • Garden eels live in colonies on the seabed, poking out from holes in the sand to catch food drifting by. Their colonies look like gardens of weird plants.