The electric eel, native to the fresh waters of the Amazon and Orinoco River basins in South America, is capable of generating up to 600 volts which it uses for hunting and, you guessed it, self-defense. They grow to a lengthy 7 foot and can weigh as much as 45 lbs. which means they could provide a substantial meal for a hungry alligator. But can an electric eel generate enough voltage to fend off a 7-foot hungry alligator? Check out the shocking video below (sorry, couldn’t pass up the obvious pun).
The eel generates its voltage with special organs which make up nearly the entire length of its body. It can maintain a high voltage discharge for about 2 minutes and a lower voltage output for about an hour. Plenty of time to stun a hungry alligator and make him think twice about his dinner source.
Wikipedia explains how those odd organs work:
“These organs are made of electrocytes, lined up so a current of ions can flow through them and stacked so each one adds to a potential difference. When the eel locates its prey, the brain sends a signal through the nervous system to the electrocytes. This opens the ion channels, allowing sodium to flow through, reversing the polarity momentarily. By causing a sudden difference in electric potential, it generates an electric current in a manner similar to a battery.”