This movie requires Flash Player 8. Download Flash Player 8

© 2020ApologeticsPress
(800) 234-8558
syndication   |  About AP   |  Sign up for E-mail Newsletter    |    Privacy Policy    |    Contact Us
Issue Features
View this issue online as it looks in print
Discovery Magazine 7/1/2001

A Shocking Experience!

by  Brad Harrub, Ph.D.

Have you ever touched one of your friends and felt a small shock? Well, think about how life would be if your best friend were an electric eel! Electric eels aren’t true eels, but rather electrical fish that can reach lengths of almost 8 feet and can weigh up to 60 pounds! But these are no lightweights; they can pack an electrical punch 5 times greater than the shock that you would get from sticking your finger into an electrical socket! These special fish are found in rivers in South America. Known as Electrophorus electricus, the electric eel is olive brown with yellow spots and has a long, slender, snakelike shape. The internal organs for electric eels are all packed into about the front 1/8th of the body. These shocking creatures are air-breathing fish, which means they occasionally must rise to the surface and take gulps of air. Most electric eels live to be 12 years old or more.

The electricity from these amazing creatures arises from a group of highly compacted nerve endings found all along the body of the eel. Each one of these nerve endings has a small electric voltage that, when added together, can be a shocking experience! This would be similar to a row of batteries connected in a series. Electric eels use this electrical current to stun their prey. Dinner for an electric eel is mainly small fish. They also use this electricity for self-defense, for navigation, and to detect prey. Their ability to detect electrical signals even allows them to sense the heartbeat of other fish! A full-grown eel can produce enough electricity—600 volts—to stun a human or horse! While electric eels are not aggressive, they may produce a damaging shock when surprised or stepped on (and they don’t make good pets)! A single discharge would not be enough to kill a person, however, repeated shocks could be fatal. So why don’t these eels shock themselves? It is similar to the way electricity from your wall socket can shock you but not affect the material connected to the socket. Electric eels have a thick layer of fat that acts as an insulator to protect them from their own (or other) electrical bursts. All of this intelligent and complex design shows us just how smart God was when He created these special creatures!

Copyright © 2001 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

*Please keep in mind that Discovery articles are written for 3rd-6th graders.

This document may be copied, on the condition that it will not be republished in print unless otherwise stated below, and will not be used for any commercial purpose, as long as the following stipulations are observed: (1) Apologetics Press must be designated as the original publisher; (2) the specific Apologetics Press Web site URL must be noted; (3) any references, footnotes, or endnotes that accompany the article must be included with any written reproduction of the article; (4) textual alterations of any kind are strictly forbidden; (5) Some illustrations (e.g., photographs, charts, graphics, etc.) are not the intellectual property of Apologetics Press and as such cannot be reproduced from our site without consent from the person or organization that maintains those intellectual rights; (6) serialization of written material (e.g., running an article in several parts) is permitted, as long as the whole of the material is made available, without editing, in a reasonable length of time; (7) articles, excepting brief quotations, may not be offered for sale or included in items offered for sale; and (8) articles may be reproduced in electronic form for posting on Web sites pending they are not edited or altered from their original written content and that credit is given to Apologetics Press, including the web location from which the articles were taken. Further, documents may not be copied without source statements (title, author, journal title), and the address of the publisher and owner of rights, as listed below.

For catalog, samples, or further information, contact:

Apologetics Press
230 Landmark Drive
Montgomery, Alabama 36117
Phone (334) 272-8558

Web Store

Defending the Faith Study Bible

We are very excited to announce the NEW AP Defending the Faith Study Bible now available.

Featured Audio


Click the following link to visit our Multimedia section.

Featured Audio