In detail

The eel - profile


Surname: Eel
Other names: Freshwater eels
Latin name: Anguillidae
class: Bony fish
size: 50 - 200cm
mass: up to 10kg
Older: 8 - 20 years
Appearance: brown
Sexual dimorphism: Yes
Nutrition typePhotos: Fish eater (piscivor)
food: small fish, crabs, worms
distribution: worldwide
original origin: probably Europe
Sleep-wake rhythm: nocturnal
habitat: Rivers and seas
natural enemies: Predatory fish
sexual maturity: 8 - 12 years
mating season: ?
Threatened with extinction: Yes
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.

Interesting facts about the eel

  • Eels spend most of their lives in freshwater waters before moving on to reproduction and swimming back to where they were born
  • To get back to the place of their birth, eels swim up to 7000km through the oceans. For this they need more than a whole year.
  • Eels are among the fish with the highest fat content. The many fat serves as energy storage for the long journey.
  • Once the eels have spawned (laying eggs) they die from exhaustion. In contrast, eels in captivity can well over 50 years old, because they are prevented from reproducing.
  • Eel females are more than twice as long and heavy as eel males.
  • The sense of smell of eels is so fine that even individual molecules can be perceived out of the water. This makes it easier for the eel to track down its prey.
  • Eels can even travel short distances over land on their way to their birthplace. For this they breathe temporarily over their skin and absorb the required oxygen from the air.
  • The European eel is now threatened with extinction by the intensive eel catch.
  • In European waters, a distinction is made between two different eels: the fish-hunting broad-headed eel and the worm-eating Spitzkopfaal.
  • In front of the Eel, which kills its prey by electric shocks, but no one in Europe must be afraid, because it occurs only in the rivers of South America.