Animal Update - July 12

Published July 12, 2013

Between our Baltimore and Washington, DC, venues, more than 17,500 animals representing 900 species call the National Aquarium home. There are constant changes, additions, and more going on behind the scenes that our guests may not notice during their visit. We want to share these fun updates with our community so we're bringing them to you in our weekly Animal Update posts!

Check our blog every Friday to find out what's going on... here's what's new this week!


Guests can now HEAR our electric eel "stun" it's food!

Electrophorus electricus—everything about this eel’s scientific name says high voltage! Of the fishes able to generate an electrical discharge, electric eels are by far the champions, producing up to 600 volts!

electric eel

They use this voltage to stun their prey and to protect themselves from predators.

Our staff in Washington, DC has recently installed an amplifier in our eel's habitat that converts these shocks into audible sounds! Because water conducts electricity so well, the amplifier is able to actively broadcast sounds from the eel's different electric organs - which he uses to scan his surroundings (these eels are mostly blind and use their electric pulses to navigate) and occasionally produce an impressive stun.

Check out this video that captured the sound from the amplifier during a recent feeding.

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!

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