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Electric eels generate enough juice to power 10 lightbulbs.

That’s about 600 volts—or five times the electricity you’ll get from a wall socket. How does such a slow-moving fish unleash all that energy? “It has specialized organs that contain thousands of electrically excitable cells, each of which can produce 100 to 150 millivolts,” says Bruce Carlson, a biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis. “When the eel feels threatened or is hunting prey, it triggers all of the cells simultaneously, creating a surge capable of lighting up a Christmas tree.” Despite what you’ve seen in cartoons, there is no glow involved, only subtle twitches. You’d be twitchy, too, if you were 
habitually misidentified. It turns out the electric eel isn’t an eel at all—it’s 
a knifefish. Shocking, right?

 

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