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Once again, science has discovered something absolutely terrifying. (What else is new?)

Apparently, in 1800, a German naturalist named Alexander von Humboldt went to South America to study electric eels (we’re not clear on why one would want to do that). While he was there, some fishermen herded horses into eel-infested waters (again, why?) and, like animals usually do when they are threatened by other animals, the eels defended themselves. The crazy part was that–according to Humboldt–the eels pressed up against the bodies of the horses and came up out of the water to electrocute them.

One of his acquaintances drew this picture of the encounter:

electric eels attacking horse

Horrifying.

Seeing as a drawing doesn’t really count as hard evidence and no one really saw the eels do that again in the 200 years since, the story of the leaping eels was dismissed as legend. UNTIL NOW. Recently Kenneth Catania, a biologist at Vanderbilt University, discovered first hand (literally) that eels can, in fact, jump out of the water to attack people.

Aside from the obvious reasons, this is alarming news because, up until now, electric eels seemed relatively harmless. When they administer shocks in the water, they are mostly absorbed and dissipate instead of going directly into your body. You can feel it, but not very much. With this new development, the eels use their chins to touch predators and the voltage dramatically increases the further they come out of the water.

So, yeah, don’t mess with electric eels, because they will literally jump out of the water to kill you. Catania calls them ‘electric fences in the form of fish.’

Watch the eels in action here:

So science has confirmed what The Little Mermaid taught us years ago: eels are evil.

eels
Disney/Giphy

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