Electrifying animals

Electric eel
Perhaps the most famous of electric critters, the electric eel is not actually an eel but a freshwater fish native to South America. The fish gets its spark from electricity- generating cells which make up a whopping 80 per cent of its body volume.



Electric ray
The electric ray family is the largest animal group with the power to generate electric shocks, comprising 69 different species. Rays can deliver currents of up to 30 amperes and voltages of 50-200 volts.



Hammerhead shark
Sharks have mastered the art of electroreception, detecting the weak electrical currents generated by their prey’s muscular contractions. Voltages down to just one-billionth of a volt are picked up by special pores dotted across their faces. The hammerhead’s odd noggin packs in more of these pores than any other shark.


Duck-billed platypus
Along with the echidna, the platypus is one of the very few mammals to detect dinner using electricity. Hunting underwater, the platypus closes its eyes, nose and ears, relying instead on the 40,000 electroreceptors in its bill to locate victims. By swaying its head from side to side it can very accurately pinpoint prey.