How It Works

How does an electric eel generate electricity?

Asked by Steve Benson

The electric eel generates electricity through two abdominal organs, which consist of flattened, interconnected electrocytes. These organs, the Sach’s organ and Hunter’s organ respectively, generate different types of electric organ discharge, the former low voltage, the latter high voltage. Studies have recorded certain eels capable of delivering a 500V charge, making them potentially dangerous to humans. On a day-to-day basis, electric eels use their ability to discharge electricity to stun their prey as well as in electrolocation (navigation/detecting objects through electrical impulses).