It's an amazing video that shows eels can attack even if you're not fully in the water with them.
A new study has found that electric eels can leap out of a tank to shock a fake alligator head, indicating that the predator is able to take on animals even if they aren’t in the water with them.
Scientists observed eels reacting to half-submerged predators by jumping out of the water and sending defensive volleys of high-voltage electricity at their targets, according to a Vanderbilt University statement.
Researchers in the study first observed this behavior in laboratory experiments when they would try to attack a metal-rimmed net as he was fishing them out of the tanks. Kenneth Catania of Vanderbilt, who led the study, then decided he’d test it furthe rby presenting carbon rods and aluminum plates to the eels, which they attacked as well, prompting him to try the plastic alligator for the video below.
The video shows that eels can shock perceived threats directly, rather than displacing the electricity in water. Catania says this observation was made as long ago as 200 years by an explorer, who observed South American native fisherman herding horses into pools of electric eels, causing the eels to exhaust their charges so they could be fished out safely.
“By hooking a voltmeter and then an ammeter to an aluminum plate, Catania was able to measure the nature and strength of the electric impulses the eels were producing as they leap up the conductor. He found that both the voltage and the amperage produced by the eels increased dramatically as the eel leaped higher on the target,” the statement reads. “When the eel is fully submerged, the power of its electrical pulses is distributed throughout the water. When the eel’s body extends out of the water, however, the path that the electrical current travels goes from its chin directly into the target. Then the electric current travels through the target until it can exit back into the water where it travels back to the eel’s tail, completing the circuit.”