Electric eels can leap out of water and kill animals 25 times

first_imgElectric eels are easily one of Mother Nature’s most amazing creatures. Not only can they remote control their prey, but it turns out they can leap out of the water and kill animals 25 times their size.For comparison’s sake, that’d be a bit like a rhinoceros taking down something the size of a fin whale. Pretty incredible, right? To pull off this David vs. Goliath act, the eel leans on its superpower… only there’s a slight twist.Most of the time when an electric eel shocks its prey it’s completely submerged. If one decided to attack, say, a cow or a horse that happened to have bent down to take a drink, that kind of attack might be enough to send the animal into shock.The eel has a trick up its sleeve, though. If it wants to deliver a more devastating jolt, it can break through the surface of the water and make direct contact with the animal. By slapping its chin onto the victim, the eel can greatly amplify its attack — and the higher above the surface of the water it gets, the deadlier the attack.Stories have been told for centuries about electric eels leaping from the water and killing horses, but the phenomenon had never been documented. Recently, however, Vanderbilt researchers set out to show that it’s entirely possible.courtesy Vanderbilt UniversityIn their experiment they embedded LEDs into a conductive replica crocodile head. Ken Catania and his team then enticed eels to strike and took readings. As you can see in their charts, both the voltage and amperage of a strike rise in relation to the eel’s height from the water.Why did the electric eel develop such a brutal offensive attack? In his paper, Catania notes that it has a lot to do with unpredictable rainfall in their habitat. An eel might make its way into a a pool teeming with fish only to later be trapped there. With no escape route, the best defense becomes a good offense.Main photo By Steven G. Johnson, others Ken Catanialast_img

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