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American Eel

Anguilla rostrata

Drawing of an American Eel with is pointed head and taleMax Size: 120 cm (4 ft.)

Habitat: Ocean, rivers, and estuaries on the Atlantic coast

Diet: Fish, aquatic insects, and crustaceans




Fun Facts:

  • Eels’ slime coat, a defense mechanism common to all fishes used to protect themselves from predators and bacteria, is particularly thick, making them nearly impossible to grip
  • Adult American eels live at the bottom of the Hudson River and its tributaries year-round, but those of breeding age will leave to spawn in the Sargasso Sea, hundreds of miles off-shore in the mid-Atlantic.
  • Males mature at a smaller size; any eel over 2 feet is likely female
  • Eels can survive out of water for long periods of time; sometimes slithering across land to travel between water bodies