Biologist let electric eels shock him for research and claims it wasn't crazy

Biologist let electric eels shock him for research and claims it wasn't crazy

The biologist was shocked by eels (Stock image)

Friday, September 15, 2017

A scientist has been purposefully shocked by an electric eel in order to record its voltage, and claims it wasn't a "crazy thing to be doing."

Kenneth Catania is a biologist at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, according to the South China Morning Post, and let a juvenile electric eel shock his forearm.

He then recorded the current produced by the eel and published his findings in the journal Current Biology.

Catania explained that he had accidentally been shocked by electric eels a few times before so had some idea of what to expect. When shocked on purpose he said "I was impressed. Let’s put it that way."

The biologist has previously studied how the animals use pulses to sense their prey, but became further interested in eels when a video of a fisherman being knocked over by a leaping eel was released online.

To complete his research he held the eels with special gloves so that the voltage running through them could be measured. He was also able to record the resistance of the water.

However when he wore the gloves he could not measure the current the eels discharged when attacking their prey - which could be a different matter altogether.

This is why he decided to let the eels shock his arm, and he discovered the further out of the water the eel came, the more powerful its shocks were, as less of the current flowed back into the water.

Catania found that in terms of watts, eel shocks are almost 10 times what a stun gun would give out.