August 18, 2022
How do snakes produce electricity?

How do snakes produce electricity?

as electric eels, also known in Brazil as poraquês, is one of the most impressive creatures we know. However, did you know that it is much closer to being a knife fish than a real eel? These strange creatures are unique and are particularly known for their ability to produce shocks of up to 600 volts.

How they were able to produce this electrical discharge and still not be affected by this electricity, on the other hand, is very interesting. So, so that you can understand more about these amazing animals and find out the source of their “superpowers”, we will delve deeper into this topic. Stay tuned!

battery body

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The power source for electric eels comes from a group of cells similar to a drums Which we know in our daily lives, are called electrophoresis. These cells make up about 80% of the bodies of long snakes and constantly serve as a source of protection and attack.

Shaped like a disk, each of these cells can gain a voltage of just one tenth of a volt by controlling the flow of sodium and potassium ions – charged atoms – across cell membranes. These individual cells combine into arrays and begin to function as a common car battery, which releases its charge when eels spot predators or fangs.

Each shock of an eel has a power of up to 0.5 kW, which will be enough to seriously injure a person. For this reason, it is best to stay away from these strange creatures.

Shock protection

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

An eel is not simply affected by its shocks because its body is fully prepared to receive this type of electric shock. As mentioned earlier, electrophoresis are able to convert all the energy not consumed in movement into electrical impulses.

This electricity then builds up and creates an electric field around the animal which helps it in all its activities. To get an idea, a eel An adult can have up to 160,000 electrical cells in its body.

location of prey

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

More than a form of attack and defense, the electric current generated by snakes is a tool for tracking prey. How does it work? Studies show that electric eels use electricity to remotely control their victims, causing hidden fish to twist under the shock and reveal their locations.

In addition, electricity causes involuntary muscle contractions in other organisms. This causes the prey to be held back for a few moments and to be unable to activate its escape mechanisms. In this way, getting food becomes easy.

The reason this happens is that electrical discharges reach remotely the neurons of the prey, and begin to control the muscles. While hunting, eels periodically give out two high-voltage discharges with a pause of 2 milliseconds in between, serving as a tracker.