A couple of months ago we met this very shy and modest fellow: the Electric Eel (Electrophorus electricus)
Electric eels are found in the fresh water of South-America. Favorite spots are creeks, swamps and muddy bottoms in calm water. This fellow was found at the Moi Moi waterfall, a relaxing place not far from the lodge. The first time that I met him was kind of 'shocking' for me. I was first mesmerized by the calmness the trickling waterfall produced that I forgot about what was swimming at the bottom of the creek. Out of nowhere and without a warning I saw this 'prehistoric creature' swimming close to me. By the way, I wasn't in the water, but I stood close enough to see him appear.
At first glance it looked like a small anaconda, but a closer look we could see that it was actually swimming gracefully between the rocks. As it didn't show any sign of aggressiveness towards us we didn't feel threatened at all. We were rather curious about this amazing fellow.
It was approximately 2 meters long and it is said that they can weigh at least 20 kg. So it was not a small sample. My companions tried to get as close as possible and the only way to get so close safely was with a GoPro.
Electric eels are known as top predators who can produce at least 500 Volts of electric shocks in still water. A real life taser under water, a great combination if you ask me.
Even though it is called an eel, it is actually a knife fish and closely related to the catfish.
It is said that the Electric eel is a solitary nocturnal predator. But we saw on many occasions electric eels during the daytime.
Electric eels live from fish, small mammals, amphibians and crabs. Sometimes we treat this fellow with chicken skin or pancakes. The moment the food 'touches' the surface it immediately comes out from its hiding place. Electric eels have an excellent hearing capability, so anything that 'touches' the surface is no surprise for him at all. It is a spectacular moment to see an electric eel feast upon the treats. It knows that none of us will dare to go into the water, otherwise you might get stunned. Which might not be a pleasant feeling.
Even though it feels like a fish in the water, it had to surface from time to time to get some oxygen. This gave us the opportunity to snap some great shots too.
What I didn't know before is that Electric Eels can barely see, but still manage to find their way to their hiding spot or catch their prey. It uses its electrical pulses to guide him through everything:
For so far this stunning fellow is no threat to anyone at Kabalebo.