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Alligator bites electric eel
December 16, 2010 5:09 PM   Subscribe

What happens when an alligator bites an electric eel? (SLYT) hattip: Boing Boing

Note: It may actually be a caiman.
posted by Joe in Australia (144 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
It becomes luggage.
posted by bwg at 5:13 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Warning: To hypersensitive vegetarians who cry during children's movies (me), you might want to avoid this.

According to the youtube comments the guy wasn't baiting the gator, and he was somewhat upset.
posted by Alex404 at 5:20 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


So very Brazilian of them.
posted by The Giant Squid at 5:20 PM on December 16, 2010


Best YouTube comment: "Quick, throw a Pokeball!"

[Note, this is actually kinda disturbing]
posted by blahblahblah at 5:21 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Awwww.
posted by Gator at 5:23 PM on December 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


I've had a hard time determining why I found this so depressing and disturbing. The seemingly staged nature, the loud abrasive ego and voice of the fisherman photographer... the sad spectacle of an entrapped animal writhing and bleeding in the mud and the hungry animal that joins in, writhing and suffering in the mud and the water and the muck and the dead leaves and dying with some idiot yelling and filming it on his iPhone for the world to watch.
posted by Auden at 5:25 PM on December 16, 2010 [30 favorites]


Within moments Chompy realized that he had attacked Steve Irwin's spirit animal. By then it was already too late.
posted by special-k at 5:25 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


the gator's flaily little legs were kind of cute, like a puppy chasing bunnies in its sleep, until I realized that it was actually just dying horribly and not having any kind of fun at all. :/

I have the sudden urge to buy a new handbag, though
posted by elizardbits at 5:27 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


>_,__,/
posted by Gator at 5:28 PM on December 16, 2010 [21 favorites]


Nature red in tooth and claw, guys.
posted by dhartung at 5:28 PM on December 16, 2010 [15 favorites]


That was fantastic.
posted by clarknova at 5:28 PM on December 16, 2010


What puts this over the top for me is the advertisement at the top, baiting people to some scam website with a pitch that some kid makes $428 per day (oddly specific) with their scam. This changes the video from animal cruelty to torturing animals for profit. Someone is using this video to make money off the suffering of both of these animals.

And on another matter, why is it that I can never turn off those stupid YouTube captions? No matter how many times I turn off that option in preferences, it still shows these stupid captions, which are almost always spam advertisements.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:31 PM on December 16, 2010 [15 favorites]


i saw an alligator bite an electric eel
saw a buffalo slip on a banana peel
saw a fruit bat fly into a hurricane
a flamingo standing in the pouring rain
and then a moose and a spider monkey fell in a hole
as a possum and a cockroach fell off a pole
then a cockatoo flew into a window pane
and a rabbit got squashed in the passing lane
these things happen, oh yes it's true
and ain't a damn thing, brother, we humans can do,
ain't a damn thing, brother, we humans can do
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:32 PM on December 16, 2010 [51 favorites]


That was amazing.
posted by zeek321 at 5:37 PM on December 16, 2010


charlie don't surf: I (or someone out there) needs to make a bookmarklet that appends &iv_load_policy=3 to the end of every youtube URL, so those stupid annotations go away. They really are almost always spam and I've never seen a video where they're put to good use.
posted by chimaera at 5:37 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


You get Fisheeltor. Had it in Rio. Tastes like chicken.
posted by jamaro at 5:37 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Reading the youtube comments for translation suggests that the loud cameraman is not actually getting a kick out of this, nor staging it. It seems that he was fishing and caught the eel and was waiting for someone to bring him a knife (so he could safely kill the eel before butchering it, or so he could release it, it's not clear) when the alligator arrived.
posted by 256 at 5:41 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are you people fucking INSANE! FOR REAL. THIS IS AMAZING? I have never been so fucking pissed off at Metafilter before. Can't anyone see that this fucking asshole idiot has that electric eel ON A STRING???? The eel is bleeding before the aligator bites him and you can see the guy tugging on a string, pulling the eel out of the water to bait the aligator. This is completely set up and horrible. Shame on you OP for posting this shit on Metafilter. I'm so pissed off that I can hardly type.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 5:41 PM on December 16, 2010 [9 favorites]


I think I should have closed the browser window before posting. Wow, I can blow up sometimes. Ok so he was fishing but it still looks sketch to me and for anyone to find this amazing is still sick. Ugh, I need to calm the hell down.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 5:42 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


256, why was he filming it at all in the first place? This has to be setup.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 5:44 PM on December 16, 2010


The translated comments indicate that it isn't a setup. But you know, even if it were a setup I'd still feel enriched by having seen this. The idea that a living being can generate enough electricity to kill another animal - especially one as tough as an alligator (or a caiman) - is just mind boggling.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:47 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


That eel's hooked onto a line, and the fisherman guy is dragging him up onto the shore, deliberately baiting the alligator.

[on preview, MaryDellamorte spotted the line]
posted by SteelyDuran at 5:47 PM on December 16, 2010


To give the guy the benefit of the doubt, people do film themselves fishing. And he apparently says "I didn't mean for this to happen" at the end.

Seeing this as "amazing" though, I don't know. I guess you could interpret that as "lol badass woo eels wins! fatality!" or "Wow, I've never seen a struggle for survival between an electric eel and an alligator before, that's pretty amazing."
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:49 PM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


It wouldn't have been amazing if it had been a kitten. I am a hypocrite. But the eel electrocuted the caiman. To death. I've never seen anything in nature do something like that before. I didn't know it was even possible. Nature is pretty amazing. Suffering is not. But still. I contain multitudes.
posted by zeek321 at 5:49 PM on December 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


Good, after seeing this video I don't have to wonder what happens when a caiman bites an electric eel. I will no longer have to replicate the experiment. A caiman and an eel saved by this man and his video.

If someone could do some genetic engineering to create electric earthworms fishing would be somo much more fun and dangerous,
posted by Dr. Curare at 5:50 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


MaryDellamorte: Glad you posted, actually. I hadn't spotted the line the first time I saw it. It's a different thing entirely when you see that one detail.
posted by SteelyDuran at 5:51 PM on December 16, 2010


256, why was he filming it at all in the first place? This has to be setup.

Probably because he was fishing, then an alligator showed up. Most people like to get their phones out and film wild animals when they showed up.
posted by ignignokt at 5:51 PM on December 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


I saw this yesterday and it prompted me to do a lil' research on electric eels. Know what? They're not eels at all, but are knife fish.

They can deliver 500V charges at 1 amp. 0.75 amps is enough to kill a human.

They can deliver shocks for over an hour without signs of tiring.

badass
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 5:51 PM on December 16, 2010 [21 favorites]


I didn't know it was even possible.

Something that big twitching and dying over almost a minute after biting another living creature. Because of electricity. Generated by an animal. With cellular ion pumps and stuff. Ok, I'm done.
posted by zeek321 at 5:52 PM on December 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


What would Darwin think? A fish that generates an electrical current? Isn't that mind-boggling? Proof of warped-intelligent design?
posted by ovvl at 5:53 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I saw this on Boing Boing yesterday and the explanatory text was "if you enjoy getting angry, here's a video for you." After watching it I was wondering why it should have made me angry, in that what I saw was:

1. A guy wants to eat an eel
2. A caiman wants to eat an eel
3. The eel doesn't want to get eaten

Just unfortunately the caiman didn't have the tools the guy had not to get electrocuted to death. I had no idea it was that powerful.
posted by ultrapotato at 5:55 PM on December 16, 2010 [16 favorites]


Actually what's the physics of this? Is the voltage drop between the eel/fish and the water, with the caiman conducting the current? What charged particles are moving? Did the caiman's heart stop? Were its lungs paralyzed? Did its brain fry? What actually killed it?
posted by zeek321 at 5:56 PM on December 16, 2010


i saw an alligator bite an electric eel
saw a buffalo slip on a banana peel
saw a fruit bat fly into a hurricane
a flamingo standing in the pouring rain
and then a moose and a spider monkey fell in a hole
as a possum and a cockroach fell off a pole
then a cockatoo flew into a window pane
and a rabbit got squashed in the passing lane
these things happen, oh yes it's true
and ain't a damn thing, brother, we humans can do,
ain't a damn thing, brother, we humans can do


I googled this assuming it was a song... found nothing. Did you write this, Flapjack? Really great.
posted by Huck500 at 5:59 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, that was disturbing and sad.

And shocking.
posted by mattdidthat at 5:59 PM on December 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


They can deliver 500V charges at 1 amp. 0.75 amps is enough to kill a human.

I would not want to be holding a wet fishing line attached to one of these things.
posted by Hoopo at 6:00 PM on December 16, 2010


Also, what kind of fisherman doesn't carry his own knife? Why was he "waiting" for someone else to bring him one? I'm not buying it, at all. Why does he have the eel pulled up to the edge of the water. If he was going to release it, why isn't it submerged in the water? If he was going to kill it, why isn't it just pulled up onto the ground?
posted by MaryDellamorte at 6:01 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why can't something be amazing and horrifying at the same time? Nature is pretty amazing. It's also pretty brutal sometimes. I'm ignoring the part about the fishing line because I don't know what the story is there, and I doubt this is the first time an alligator's had an unfortunate dalliance with an eel. And whether it's an iPhone capturing the moment or a cameraman and Sir David Attenborough is not the point. It's okay to be saddened by the brutality in that scene and also be amazed at the way the eel's body naturally defends itself as well as the danger that even a big, scary animal like an alligator faces just to get a meal... without being a sick, sick person with a black hole for a soul.
posted by katillathehun at 6:02 PM on December 16, 2010 [52 favorites]


Actually what's the physics of this? Is the voltage drop between the eel/fish and the water, with the caiman conducting the current? What charged particles are moving? Did the caiman's heart stop? Were its lungs paralyzed? Did its brain fry? What actually killed it?

There's a lot about electric eels that no one understands, including how it survives its own shock, and how two eels survive each other's shocks.

It's still unclear how the eels manage to survive their own shocks. Two electric eels have been known to electrocute the same prey animal without shocking each other and some of the strongest bursts of electricity are released during mating, yet the eels remain unharmed. However, the same eels could fight to the death using identical shocks to those during the mating ritual.

How the fish are seemingly able to tolerate large currents at certain times and not at others is a mystery which still eludes research scientists. The answer may lie partly in a thick layer of fat which behaves as an electrical insulator, protecting the eels from their own shocks and, to some extent, the shocks of others.

posted by Huck500 at 6:04 PM on December 16, 2010 [7 favorites]


I don't think he was baiting it. If he had tried to pull the eel out of the water, the alligator probably would have followed it. I don't see how he had much choice. A Google search for "how to scare away an alligator" doesn't bring up many useful results.
posted by Brocktoon at 6:04 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I mean, come on! Turn all that negative energy into positive energy, electric eel!
posted by jimmythefish at 6:04 PM on December 16, 2010


I thought it was fascinating - I was expecting the caiman to yelp, drop it and swim away, and had no idea that electric eels could do that.

As to the staged/baiting nature of it - I have no experience whatsoever in this area, but it doesn't immediately scream either "staged" or "baiting". He pulls the eel up by the line - well, understandable, he's just caught it, he's a fisherman, he might be trying to get it away from the huge great thing with sharp teeth that's just turned up. Even if he's trying to get the caiman to bite it to see what will happen, his reaction seems more surprised than anything. Equally, whistling at it could be an attempt to let the caiman know he's there and scare it off.

Does anyone here speak enough of the language the fisherman's using (Portuguese, according to the YT comments) to confirm/deny the summary given in the comments?
posted by ZsigE at 6:05 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm talking about pulling him out before the gator showed up. If he's innocent, he's not going to be fishing with an alligator right there trying to catch things he pulls out of the water.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 6:06 PM on December 16, 2010


And my friends wonder why I'm wary about water.
posted by showmethecalvino at 6:08 PM on December 16, 2010


zeek321: It's all about the pulses. So these eels have these organs that are stacked like cells in a battery. They produce, from what I understand, a constant electric field, and the reverse it in pulses that vary from 25Hz-100Hz or so. This causes an electric current in the water, which forms a field around the eels sort of like the radiating lines you see on diagrams of bar magnets. The closer you are to the eel, the more you'll be in that field, and zap!

The part I don't understand from this description is: is the field constant and it reverses it? Or does it linger around the low end of the scale, and then gets increased and pulsed? You'd think if an eel went strutting around with a constant 100V field, every creature in the vicinity would know when it was coming. Or maybe that's the point.

Totally fascinating animal, though, and it makes human's attempts to generate electricity look inelegant by comparison.
posted by SteelyDuran at 6:11 PM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Next week on Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, Jim and I will witness a rare and deadly encounter between a Polar Bear and a giant Anaconda...
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:12 PM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm talking about pulling him out before the gator showed up. If he's innocent, he's not going to be fishing with an alligator right there trying to catch things he pulls out of the water.

There is no "before the gator showed up" in this video...?
posted by Brocktoon at 6:14 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I know because of animated gifs that people do much, much worse things to eels.
posted by fleetmouse at 6:15 PM on December 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


i saw an alligator bite an electric eel
saw a buffalo slip on a banana peel


All those... moments... will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.

Sad that it didn't seem to turn out well for any of the participants.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:15 PM on December 16, 2010


Does anyone here speak enough of the language the fisherman's using

I don't, but somebody on a Digg thread from last week provided this translation:
Alligator, alligator
....
He's being shocked
Being electrocuted.
The alligator is dying.
...
People, nature is incredible. The alligator is being electrocuted.
...
Run over here, HURRY.
Come see this. Hurry up.
Run over here, run over here.
I got a big animal.
Hurry, hurry.
The alligator died over here.
Run...run

This is amazing, never seen this in my life
Be quiet. Come see this.

Quick find a cover and a lasso.

Guy#2. The snake got the alligator?
The gator is a wee little sucker, by the way, probably not more than a few feet long, but those jaws can still do major damage so it's a good idea to keep a respectful distance even from the little ones.

As far as this being gator-baiting, I don't really see it. It's unlikely the guy was fishing with the gator sitting right there, but very possible the gator smelled the blood and swam over to investigate while the guy waited for his friend to bring the knife. The guy might not have pulled in the eel from the water because he needed his friend to help him safely haul it in without getting electrocuted themselves. I don't know what people usually do when they catch an electric eel, but I imagine extreme caution is in order because of exactly what this video depicts.
posted by Gator at 6:16 PM on December 16, 2010 [7 favorites]


from personal, florida experience, whether the eel was left in the water, up on shore or pulled completely upslope, if the caiman was aware of the eel in distress it would go after it relentlessly. I can't imagine fishing without at least one knife, though, but it's not unimaginable. Don't assume or rule out a set up.
posted by Redhush at 6:17 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow! I never though about that. Eels don't shock each other. Perplexing.

I suppose if one maintained its own field, that field would buffer and maybe repel the field from another eel somewhat, but not very much. They're still going to take a serious bump.

The part about how they don't shock themselves is even more mysterious.

Russian MiG fighters used tube technology instead of semiconductors. Not only could it take the temperature changes better, but it could survive EMP weaponry. Perhaps these are tube-type eels, chock full of robustified organs which don't respond so much to the pulses.
posted by SteelyDuran at 6:17 PM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I imagine this kind of thing happens all the time, whether people are around to see it or not. Animals are cruel to each other. Sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you, and sometimes you get a nasty shock when you're trying to eat an eel.
posted by halftone at 6:18 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


There is no "before the gator showed up" in this video...?

No there isn't. But if this guy was just innocently fishing, and just happened to catch an electric eel, then there had to have been a window of time when there wasn't an alligator at the edge of the water because no one is going to fish and pull things out of the water just to have an alligator follow him up where the fisherman is.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 6:19 PM on December 16, 2010


So everybody's upset about something that's happened millions of times, over tens of millions of years, without the intervention of humans. One guy films it and suddenly it's, OMIGOD, CALL THE UN!

The reason eels can do this is so that this very thing will happen when caiman bite them.
posted by klanawa at 6:23 PM on December 16, 2010 [29 favorites]


Dude says he asked his friend to get a knife and this happened before he could get it. What, you think he staged the whole baiting thing and then came up with an elaborate fake acting and knife story setup so he could put a iPhone video on YouTube? Give the man some credit. This isn't pleasant but I think it's extremely implausible he planned this.
posted by schroedinger at 6:23 PM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


posted by schroedinger Dude says he asked his friend to get a knife and this happened before he could get it. What, you think he staged the whole baiting thing and then came up with an elaborate fake acting and knife story setup so he could put a iPhone video on YouTube?

Maybe, but I doubt the alligator was consulted beforehand.
posted by mattdidthat at 6:28 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm talking about pulling him out before the gator showed up.

It's surprising how quickly these things just show up.

One moment you've got a fish on a line, hauling it up (something you do slowley and deliberately, if you've never fished before. Tearing tissue or line is real easy if you move too quick) then this thing surfaces out of nowhere. Now you're stuck:

Pull it out, you trigger the gator's strike reflex. Let go of the pole, your tackle's still attached to the fish. Depending on your level of affluence both may be to valuable to abandon. You're best bet is to cut the line--but only if the knife is on your person, and not in the tackle box or your partner's pocket 50 yards downshore.
posted by sourwookie at 6:30 PM on December 16, 2010 [10 favorites]


Again, let me stress, alligators, crocodiles, caimans surface out of nowhere. Hiding is what they do. If they don't want you to see them, you won't. This man likely was glad he finally glad it was looking like he was going to get this fish ashore and then this lizard shows up and he's all like "Really? C'mon. Not fair!"
posted by sourwookie at 6:34 PM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


There are no easy deaths in nature. Not one. Predators starve to death when they can no longer hunt; prey animals are killed by those same predators, but at least they die (relatively) quickly. And that's it: nature red in tooth and claw indeed. This shows only natural forces working as they have for millions of years; what is there to mourn?
posted by jokeefe at 6:38 PM on December 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'm just glad that cute little ladybug didn't go for one of the electric sprinkles, cause that just would've been too cruel. Really.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:41 PM on December 16, 2010 [9 favorites]


It's a certain humanitarians in this thread weren't available to shoo away the caiman and free that poor eel.
posted by clarknova at 6:43 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Shocking footage.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:43 PM on December 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


a shame, rather!
posted by clarknova at 6:43 PM on December 16, 2010


a shocking video indeed.
It reminded me of the cruelty of nature; for instance i started wondering if it possible to power a netbook with a tankful of eels.
posted by 3mendo at 6:43 PM on December 16, 2010


It reminded me of the cruelty of nature; for instance i started wondering if it possible to power a netbook with a tankful of eels.

Then if you could do something really cruel over the internet, say, cyber-bullying or something, the cycle of cruelty would be complete.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:46 PM on December 16, 2010


The obscenity of the jungle.
posted by basicchannel at 6:50 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I caught myself pondering just getting the energy from where they get it, and cut out the middleman. Except it's the laws thermodynamics at work, and the Negative Oneth Law of Thermodynamics is that everyone and everything is a middleman.

So it's really more amazing than just that they produce electricity. It's that they convert junk and muck and bits of other life into electricity. I can't even imagine making an eel-sized mechanism to do that even half as well as an eel does it.
posted by SteelyDuran at 6:53 PM on December 16, 2010


flapjax at midnite: "It reminded me of the cruelty of nature; for instance i started wondering if it possible to power a netbook with a tankful of eels.

Then if you could do something really cruel over the internet, say, cyber-bullying or something, the cycle of cruelty would be complete
"

By writing an angry complaint letter to your utility company.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:56 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I imagine a primitive man, long before we mastered language and tools, watching something similar to this play out thousands of years ago and cheering pure primal glee as these two monsters killed each other, and now he gets to eat them both, and then painting the battle on a cave wall for others to share.

Then above the painting he writes an offer to show how other cavemen can make 428 shiny rocks a day using cave paint.
posted by Menthol at 7:02 PM on December 16, 2010 [38 favorites]


How do we know the beastie died? It was still movin'.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:04 PM on December 16, 2010


i started wondering if it possible to power a netbook with a tankful of eels.

I don't know about netbooks but an electric eel can light up a Christmas Tree.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 7:07 PM on December 16, 2010


1) Dude goes fishing with his friend. Leaves his knife in the truck
2) Feels a tug on his line and starts to pull
3) Sees it's an electric eel and realize he's not exactly going to be able to handle this so he leaves it writing there and asks for his buddy to get the knife,
4) Alligator shows up (and yeah, these things are pretty stealthy)
5) Dude grabs his camera because this is nuts. He probably wasn't expecting an eel in the first place


Aaanway, some of you are being pretty ridiculous. This is what happens in nature. If the alligator hadn't tried to eat that eel, he would have eaten some other fish. And that Eel could have killed some other Alligator later on or something too. Who knows? They weren't exactly going to go about their merry way and die in a retirement home.

Some of you guys just come across as very naive about nature.
posted by delmoi at 7:08 PM on December 16, 2010 [27 favorites]


The cellphone thing was probably from someone who just stole the video. Youtube has actually started removing videos with those kinds of scammy advertisements.
posted by delmoi at 7:09 PM on December 16, 2010


i started wondering if it possible to power a netbook with a tankful of eels.

Now I can use my netbook while driving my hovercraft.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:16 PM on December 16, 2010 [9 favorites]


They weren't exactly going to go about their merry way and die in a retirement home.

I really kind of want somebody to do a webcomic about this now. Crotchety old Eel and cranky Alligator and their wacky hijinks in Restful Village Assisted Living Swamp. They both have a crush on the feisty lady Otter down the hall, and conspire to foil the machinations of the evil Nurse Rabbit.
posted by Gator at 7:17 PM on December 16, 2010 [7 favorites]


I can understand a little Portuguese, enough to confirm that the translation Gator (heh) provided above sounds right. If it's staged, then that's one of Brazil's finest actors.
posted by hydrophonic at 7:26 PM on December 16, 2010


As someone who does a lot of fishing I know when you have hooked a fish you very often have to move in order to land it. You may have been sitting in a chair next to your cooler and your friends and even your knife.

I imagine it goes like this:

1.)Our friend in the video hooks a fish that takes him down the shore a ways.

2.) While reeling in said fish he attracts the attention of the Alligator / Cayman.

3.) He needs the knife to cut his line to release the Electric Eel, but suddenly finds that the reptile has joined the party.

4.) He needs the knife to cut his line and skedaddle. (he sounds frightened).

5.) With his cell phone he films nature playing itself out with him in the mix.

Take a chill pill.

Lets not forget that fish he may have caught earlier or after this incident will be gutted cooked and eaten.
posted by pianomover at 7:27 PM on December 16, 2010


Not to get all Herpetology-Nerd, but there aren't any wild Alligators in Brazil, or at least there shouldn't be. The reptile in question is probably a Caiman.
posted by smoothvirus at 7:29 PM on December 16, 2010


Ooh, I know: "The same thing that happens to everything else."
posted by hermitosis at 7:34 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fucking eels how do they work?
posted by Flashman at 7:35 PM on December 16, 2010 [9 favorites]


posted by Gator I really kind of want somebody to do a webcomic about this now. Crotchety old Eel and cranky Alligator and their wacky hijinks in Restful Village Assisted Living Swamp.

Possible title:

Rest Ohm

or

Calvin & Voltage
posted by mattdidthat at 7:35 PM on December 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


Yeah, and it should be written by Neil Caiman.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:38 PM on December 16, 2010 [8 favorites]


While I am thoroughly disgusted at this video, it did result in something good. I found a YouTube channel by clicking a related video. I give you WEIRD SHIT THAT WEIRD PEOPLE DO!
posted by MHPlost at 7:53 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think it's entirely the gator or caiman or whatever recovered once the eel was no longer shocking him. They're pretty tough.
posted by Daddy-O at 7:59 PM on December 16, 2010


I thought it was fascinating - I was expecting the caiman to yelp, drop it and swim away, and had no idea that electric eels could do that.

As I understand it, they have much stronger muscles to close their mouths than open them (this is how alligator wrestling works), which means that it probably couldn't open it's mouth- the current was tensing the closing jaw muscles far more than the opening ones.

And as for the Mefites who are shocked SHOCKED that animals actually kill each other in the wild, and probably think that The Lion King is literal fact, well, you should probably go get the U.N. to pass a resolution against predatory animals.
posted by happyroach at 8:01 PM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Awwww.
posted by Gator

Eponytragic?
posted by schmod at 8:02 PM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I guess what I was most surprised about was that you could even catch electric eels by fishing in swamps. I guess I just assumed they lived out in the ocean or something.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:07 PM on December 16, 2010


The palm swamps I would occasionally find myself in this spring had both caimans and electric eels in them. I never saw an electric eel, fortunately, and only ran across a few (very small) caimans.

There was also one oxbow lake with caimans and a population of river otters into which you could take a little boat in the hopes of finding some of these interesting critters. There were also supposed to be anacondas around the lake. A few days before I got the chance to hike out there, a researcher had been out in the boat and seen a caiman and an otter locked in combat. The otter apparently beat the caiman. Ever since I learned that an OTTER beat a caiman, I've had a lot less respect for things that look like alligators.
posted by ChuraChura at 8:16 PM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


No there isn't. But if this guy was just innocently fishing, and just happened to catch an electric eel, then there had to have been a window of time when there wasn't an alligator at the edge of the water.

You've never fished before, have you? As soon as you get a fish on in an area where there are predators, it's game on for the predators. Just as the fish struck at bait, the fish is bait for something larger. That caiman caught wind that a fish/eel was in jeopardy close by and would have been well aware of what was going on long before the fisherman even saw it. Tehy would have shown up at the same time for the fisherman. He's likely expecting a regular old fish of some sort and then an electric eel AND a caiman show up at the same time. Yeah that's likely a lot of holy fuck.

I spent a significant part of my youth spincasting for salmon off the shore in Victoria. It was so common for salmon to be taken by seals/sea lions once hooked that it was always on your mind once you got a fish on. All you would feel was a massive tug and then nothing. Lunch for seal. Bad luck for you.
posted by jimmythefish at 8:18 PM on December 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


I guess that alligator's mom did raise some dummies.
posted by digsrus at 8:20 PM on December 16, 2010


happyroach: And as for the Mefites who are shocked SHOCKED that animals actually kill each other in the wild, and probably think that The Lion King is literal fact, well, you should probably go get the U.N. to pass a resolution against predatory animals.

No one here is saying anything of the sort. In nature, x eating y is perfectly fine, just so long as there's not some guy dangling a live y in front of a live x with the intent of killing both. (Not that that was going on in this case, but the mere presence of a human in the equation makes it not exactly a natural scenario.)

All I can see in this thread that's anything close to what you're suggesting are a) a few people disgusted by the possibility of someone deliberately killing two large animals in an incredibly inhumane way just for laughs, and b) people making electrocution puns.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:34 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


What puts this over the top for me is the advertisement at the top, baiting people to some scam website with a pitch that some kid makes $428 per day (oddly specific) with their scam.

The original video (which currently has lots more hits but a Portuguese title so that'll change soon) doesn't have the scam website ad. Worth noting. And Freulander's framing at BoingBoing is completely off-base.
posted by mediareport at 8:37 PM on December 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


the mere presence of a human in the equation makes it not exactly a natural scenario.

Humans are animals too.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 8:40 PM on December 16, 2010 [11 favorites]


Some of you guys just come across as very naive about nature.

My thoughts exactly. I hate fishing, but I've seen enough "big fish eats little fish while it's being reeled in" videos not to be calling it a fake or a cruel set up.

I think it's entirely [possible] the gator or caiman or whatever recovered once the eel was no longer shocking him. They're pretty tough.

My thoughts too. The gator's movements at the end looked voluntary. Not like when it was getting the electric shock at the beginning. So I'm doubly concerned for the sanity of some of the "oh noes it dieded in a cruel set up!" MeFites posting in this thread.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:52 PM on December 16, 2010


You had me right up until the "hattip."
posted by crunchland at 9:04 PM on December 16, 2010


0.75 amps is enough to kill a human.

Even 0.1 amp will stop your heart. The voltage difference required to achieve this when you are wet is not much at all.
posted by Jpfed at 9:06 PM on December 16, 2010


0.75 amps is enough to kill a human.

And this one goes to 11.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:10 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I guess I just assumed they lived out in the ocean or something.

Not only do they live in swamps, they're also obligate air-breathers.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:14 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have a hard time feeling sympathy for something that lunges out at you from hiding in water, drags you beneath the surface and spins you until you drown, and then eats you.

Predators don't wanna get shocked to death when they bite eels, maybe they should learn to like vegetables.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:20 PM on December 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


just so long as there's not some guy dangling a live y in front of a live x with the intent of killing both.

Round here, we like our meat civilized: tortured in a cage its entire life.
posted by regicide is good for you at 9:27 PM on December 16, 2010 [7 favorites]


I, Caiman, got sore, got conquered.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:12 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


If the Matrix is so smart how come it isn't powering itself off of electric eels instead of low amp humans?
posted by Burhanistan at 10:22 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Shock and horror at a routine predator/prey encounter? I blame Disney.
posted by telstar at 10:30 PM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


If the Matrix is so smart how come it isn't powering itself off of electric eels instead of low amp humans?

I've always maintained the thought that the humans were used as a gigantic parallel CPU in addition to being used for energy.
Otherwise the humans as batteries makes absolutely no sense. Using nuclear power, fusion, or the food goop they give to the humans has to be a better energy source.
posted by zephyr_words at 10:46 PM on December 16, 2010


Ah, so the Matrix is actually pulling a double con on us. Clever Matrix.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:49 PM on December 16, 2010


Footage of a soon-to-be-Steve-Irwined TV presenter being attacked by a caiman while stomping around a marsh looking for yellow anacondas.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_9166000/9166924.stm
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:52 PM on December 16, 2010


In the earlier scripts, the humans were used as parallel processors for control of fusion reactors. The matrix was just a way to keep them sedated (and the source of the 10% brain-use myth; the other 90% was being used by the machines).

They were forced to change it by the studio to the 'human battery' idea, as it was simpler to explain. Problem is, even if you don't spot the inefficiency of the idea, you can ask awkward questions like 'why didn't they use cows instead and not have to bother with the whole matrix idea?' Or indeed, eels.

Though row upon row of vats of electric eels, dreaming of a world without caimans in it? That would have been an interesting film. Perhaps the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar were eco-warriors, looking to free the eels from their bondage. And Neo was just a really good swimmer in the Matrix.
posted by ArkhanJG at 12:44 AM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


The overwrought histrionics and hate-on for the fisherman in this thread is just... gods, so beyond the pale.

MaryDelamorte, I feel you owe us all an apology for your ridiculous outburst.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:08 AM on December 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


If the Matrix is so smart how come it isn't powering itself off of electric eels instead of low amp humans?

The humans in the matrix are genetically modified with eel DNA. Didn't you see Revolutions
posted by delmoi at 2:11 AM on December 17, 2010


The overwrought histrionics and hate-on for the fisherman in this thread is just... gods, so beyond the pale.

Can I be first?

Eponysterical.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 2:17 AM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


"the source of the 10% brain-use myth"

The Matrix script isn't the source of that particular myth.
posted by panaceanot at 2:26 AM on December 17, 2010


Sorry, I didn't mean to imply the matrix was the source of the 10% brain use myth in this world; but the machines using the 'spare' capacity was the reason for it in the matrix world.
posted by ArkhanJG at 2:33 AM on December 17, 2010


UH: I think you're thinking of my cousins, the Eleven Electric Eels.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:01 AM on December 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Does the current from the eel force the alligator's jaw muscles to contract?
posted by meows at 3:27 AM on December 17, 2010


I hope none of the folks complaining about the cruelty in this YT ever eat fish. Because they may not have considered the totally inhumane way the fish we buy and eat are actually caught and killed. To be precise, by being pulled out of the water and left to die slowly, "drowning" in air, flapping out their final agony in the hold of a trawler while the nets go back down for the next catch. Sorta like killing humans by holding them under water (except that I believe we would die far more quickly).
Disclaimer: I eat fish, and don't think about these things at mealtimes.
Just sayin'.
posted by aqsakal at 3:34 AM on December 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've killed and gutted eels with my own hands, so I'm not squeamish.

However, I was not expecting to see a video of a jackass getting an alligator killed and an eel badly wounded, for no discernible reason.

This is in such bad taste it's ridiculous.

And aqsakal, I know animals suffer when they die. If they die to feed me, that's fine. If they die for no reason, it's not something I want videographed and linked to me with nary a word of warning from MeFi.
posted by unigolyn at 3:40 AM on December 17, 2010


It's worth noting that that alligator started his own demise when he tried to bite that fish. What a dick! That alligator had it coming. Who goes around biting random fish? Not me!

For those of you who feel bad for the alligator, have you ever met an alligator? They are dicks. They are literally monsters. If you came across some stranger on the subway holding a fish, would you bite it? I sure wouldn't. But the alligator's like, "OH LOOK AT ME I'LL JUST EAT WHATEVDR I SEE BECAUSE I AM MISTER KING SHIT OF SWAMP TOWN." Well guess what you rascal. You got volted. You got straight volted.
posted by Greg Nog at 5:21 AM on December 17, 2010 [31 favorites]


UH: I think you're thinking of my cousins, the Eleven Electric Eels

So THAT'S how it is in their family...
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:06 AM on December 17, 2010


It was probably some local fisherman out for a pleasure cruise at night... through eel infested waters
posted by chndrcks at 6:14 AM on December 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


According to translated comments by the OP of the original video (linked upthread by mediareport), the eel lived to spark another day, but the gator did die:
First, thanks to everybody that understood the situation. To the unsatisfied moralists, I say that I simply threw the bait to catch some fish and got the electric one, that was attacked by an alligator. The electric fish didn't die, but the alligator did. We removed the hook and it simply swam away. I BELIEVE THE A**HOLES WHO ARE CRITICIZING WOULD JUST GET IN THE WATER TO GET IT OUT FROM THE ALLIGATOR'S MOUTH.
Sadface, but that's Nature.
posted by Gator at 7:15 AM on December 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'll bet that slippery eel intentionally attracted the cayman, rightly believing that he would be let go after providing a more substantial catch for the fisherman. Very slippery.
posted by orme at 7:21 AM on December 17, 2010


On the basis of this, I'd say electric eels are metal. Quite, quite metal.
posted by ob at 7:35 AM on December 17, 2010


Greg Nog's comment is funnier if you read it with David Attenborough's voice.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:40 AM on December 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


i saw an alligator bite an electric eel
saw a buffalo slip on a banana peel
saw a fruit bat fly into a hurricane
a flamingo standing in the pouring rain
and then a moose and a spider monkey fell in a hole
as a possum and a cockroach fell off a pole
then a cockatoo flew into a window pane
and a rabbit got squashed in the passing lane
these things happen, oh yes it's true
and ain't a damn thing, brother, we humans can do,
ain't a damn thing, brother, we humans can do

I googled this assuming it was a song... found nothing. Did you write this, Flapjack? Really great.


You were correct in assuming it was a song. It's a song I wrote for this thread. If I can squeeze in the time, I'll record it tomorrow and post it to Metafilter Music. Until then, you can check out some of the songs I've posted there already!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:46 AM on December 17, 2010


Since someone mentioned Darwin up-thread, I'll point out that evidently Darwin was aware of the existence of electric fish. What he (and everyone else) was unaware of was the existence of weakly electric fish, which cast theories of the evolution of electric fish in a completely new light. Since the electric organ exists in many more animals than was realized, and is used for a variety of different purposes, its evolution becomes more comprehensible.
posted by Humanzee at 8:55 AM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Since the electric organ exists in many more animals than was realized,
I have one in my living room. It's a B3.
posted by Floydd at 9:00 AM on December 17, 2010


I hear your mom has one in the bedroom.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:24 AM on December 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Both electric eels and caimans are eaten in various places down south. They are both quite tasty. One is a fish and the other is a reptile (i.e. we're not seeing some horrible animal torture-porn here, this is a dude who was out fishing for dinner and the caiman decided to steal his meal.)

Interestingly, I've had a similar thing happen with alligator snapping turtles and delicious small-mouth bass. Only, there was no recourse - the turtle takes the fish and I don't even get to eat the turtle. I'd say the fisherman came out on top, here.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:32 AM on December 17, 2010


MaryDellamorte: Are you people fucking INSANE! FOR REAL. THIS IS AMAZING? I have never been so fucking pissed off at Metafilter before. Can't anyone see that this fucking asshole idiot has that electric eel ON A STRING????

It's.... it's called fishing... you use a string and you try to catch a fish, and then it's on the string and you can get the fish so you can eat it...
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:40 AM on December 17, 2010


MaryDelamorte, I feel you owe us all an apology for your ridiculous outburst.

See:

I think I should have closed the browser window before posting. Wow, I can blow up sometimes. Ok so he was fishing but it still looks sketch to me and for anyone to find this amazing is still sick. Ugh, I need to calm the hell down.

That's sort of an apology and anyway, I think she said her peace and moved on.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:26 AM on December 17, 2010


During a trip in 1799, the German explorer/naturalist Alexander von Humboldt conducted an infamously barbaric experiment, using horses and a pond full of electric eels:

Under the name of tembladores (‘which make you tremble’) Spaniards confuse all electric fish. There are some in the Caribbean Sea, off the Cumaná coast. [58] […] Other tembladores, proper electric eels, live in the Colarado and Guarapiche rivers and several little streams crossing the Chaima Indian missions. There are many of them in the great South American rivers, the Orinoco, Amazon and Meta, but the strength of currents and the depths prevent the Indians from catching them. They see these fish less often than they feel their electric shocks when they swim in the rivers. But it is in the llanos, especially around Calabozo, between the small farm of Morichal and the missions de arriba and de abaxo, that the stagnant ponds and tributaries of the Orinoco are filled with electric eels. We wanted first to experiment in the house we lived in at Calabozo but the fear of the eel’s electric shock is so exaggerated that for three days, despite our promising the Indians two piastres for each one. […]

“Impatient of waiting, and having only obtained uncertain results from a living eel brought to us, we went to Can~o de Bera to experiment on the water’s edge. Early in the morning on the 19th March we [59] left for the little village Rastro de Abaxo: from there Indians led us to a stream, which in the dry season forms a muddy pond surrounded by trees, clusia, amyria and mimosa with fragrant flowers […] The Indians decided to fish with horses, embarbascar con caballos. It was hard to imagine this way of fishing; but soon we saw our guides returning from the savannah with a troop of wild horses and mules. There were about thirty of them, and they forced them into the water.

“The extraordinary noise made by the stamping of the horses made the fish jump out of the mud and attack. These livid, yellow eels, like great water snakes, swim on the water’s surface and squeeze under the bellies of horses and mules. A fight between such different animals is a picturesque scene. […] Several horses collapsed from the shocks received on their most vital organs, and drowned under the water. Others panting, their manes erect, their eyes anguished, stood up and tried to escape the storm [60] surprising them in the water. They were pushed back by the Indians, but a few managed to escape, stumbling at each step, falling onto the sand exhausted and numbed from the electric shocks.

“In less than two minutes two horses had drowned. The eel is about 5 feet long and presses all its length along the belly of the horse, giving it electric shocks. They attach the heart intestines and the plexus coeliacus of the abdominal nerves.” (58 – 60)

Alexander Von Humboldt. Jaguars and Electric Eels. Trans. Jason Wilson. London: Penguin, 2007.

posted by Jody Tresidder at 11:42 AM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Marisa Stole, I agree, that was clearly an apology.

MaryDellamorte has upgraded all of us who found the video amazing from "fucking INSANE!" to "still sick". I have a cold, for 3 weeks so far, I can not argue the fact that I am still sick.
posted by Dr. Curare at 12:04 PM on December 17, 2010


Big fish, little fish swimming in the water... Come back here and give me my OHFUCKGODTHISHEREWATERSNAKEISKILLINGMEWITHGODJUICE!!!!

and

"THIS IS AMAZING?"

No... I'd say it's rather SHOCKING, wouldn't you?

waa waa waaaaaaa
posted by Debaser626 at 12:08 PM on December 17, 2010


Now the video has been removed from youtube. I guess enough of you weak immature thin skinnned busybodies complained. Thanks.
posted by MattMangels at 1:05 PM on December 17, 2010


> Now the video has been removed from youtube.

But the original still remains in all its shocking glory.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:13 PM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


This video has been removed as a violation of YouTube's policy against spam, scams, and commercially deceptive content.
Sorry about that.


So it was the obnoxious, spammy caption that got it taken down, not OH NOES GATOR-BAITING.
posted by Gator at 1:59 PM on December 17, 2010


I BELIEVE THE A**HOLES WHO ARE CRITICIZING WOULD JUST GET IN THE WATER TO GET IT OUT FROM THE ALLIGATOR'S MOUTH.

Yeah, or maybe we just wouldn't record it and post the resulting animal torture porn to YouTube, you fucking troll.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:36 PM on December 17, 2010


Predators don't wanna get shocked to death when they bite eels, maybe they should learn to like vegetables.

Not Gators, but... Crocs learned this'n' forgot it again too; sheesh; why are Gators such fossils? ;)
Crocodiles can no longer be referred to as "living fossils", according to scientists(!).
Members of the crocodilian family have previously been thought to have changed little since prehistoric times. However, new fossil analyses suggests that modern crocodilians actually evolved from a very diverse group.
Recently discovered ancient ancestors include small cat-like specimens, giant "supercrocs" and a pug-nosed vegetarian species.

....
Crocodiles came in all shape and sizes in ancient times, including an 80 million-year-old pig-nosed, thick-skinned species that lived the humble life of a vegetarian. (see the picture at this link for the MOST CUTEST CROCODILIAN EVER.)

Said the first talking Croc in an interview with CrocodileNewsNetwork; "yeah, after we started getting them lextrix eels in ur waur, we bazixly said, bump that noise, Im was pretty much paralyzed and nomnom whadda kno u, Im eatin grenn stuff!"
So, yeah, while Gators may be consistently unethical eaters... dependable crocs, have always been pretty far ahead of the curve (till they started hanging out with dinosaurs and Alligator ancestors, where raw meat was routinely passed around the swamp fires). Crocodiles have issued statements that harshly criticize Gators, stating "Food.Food. Four legs good. " yeah, the pug nosed croc really ruins my "broad snouts bad, pointy snouts good" croc joke

So... I guess I shouldn't link to this fool(!) fishing(?) for crocodiles, in the dark [?!], during a giant electrical storm{??} over on the BBC?
posted by infinite intimation at 8:10 PM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Gatorade has electrolytes.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:21 PM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


i saw an alligator bite an electric eel
saw a buffalo slip on a banana peel
saw a fruit bat fly into a hurricane
a flamingo standing in the pouring rain
and then a moose and a spider monkey fell in a hole
as a possum and a cockroach fell off a pole
then a cockatoo flew into a window pane
and a rabbit got squashed in the passing lane
these things happen, oh yes it's true
and ain't a damn thing, brother, we humans can do,
ain't a damn thing, brother, we humans can do


This little ditty is now available for your listening pleasure over at Mefi Music.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:25 PM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, or maybe we just wouldn't record it and post the resulting animal torture porn to YouTube, you fucking troll.

Now I'm wondering if people write in to Nature to protest every time they show a cheetah taking down a gazelle.
posted by hydrophonic at 8:58 AM on December 18, 2010


Of course. Someone is always that person, primed and ready to go off on some non-issue.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:37 AM on December 18, 2010


Now I'm wondering if people write in to Nature to protest every time they show a cheetah taking down a gazelle.

You seem to be missing the difference: Accidental or not, this was caused by human action.

Caimans don't naturally prey on electric eels, because, you know, zap-zap. They do, however, go after stuff splashing around on the shoreline--which is not natural behaviour of electric eels, which tend to live underwater. Having no reason to believe something splashing around on the shoreline is one of those zap-zap underwater things, the caiman bites it. The caiman bit the eel only because it was there. The eel was there only because of the fisherman.

Is that really so difficult to understand?
posted by Sys Rq at 2:48 PM on December 18, 2010


And the fisherman was a hungry animal, just like the cheetah.

Yibbida yibbida!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:33 PM on December 18, 2010


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