In 1971 a New Zealand newspaper reported that Carol Davis, a young girl of 8 wandered into a small river when she was heard screaming. An Eel had clamped down on her leg and was pulling her into deep water until she was rescued.

The Myth Behind the Longfin Eel

In New Zealand there is a snake-like creature that lives in freshwater lakes and rivers that can eat men whole. They will attack divers and can easily eat dogs and other farm animals with a powerful bite that can kill and have blood as poisonous as a python. Growing larger than a fully grown man, it can hit with enough speed to knock the wind out of a man or even break his ribs.

Separating the Longfin Eel Fact from the Myth

While there are three species of eels in New Zealand waterways, only one is capable of killing a grown man and that is the Longfin Eel (Anguilla dieffenbachii).

  • The largest Longfin Eel ever caught on record is 55 pounds.

However, there are several accounts of these fish reaching over 8 feet and as heavy as 130 pounds. These stories are backed up as being probable by local fisheries and universities.

  • They point out that the Longfin Eel is capable of living over 100 years old. The oldest one ever caught was 105 years old.

If left alone, with plenty of food, reaching over 8 feet and living as long as 100 years, most experts believe that Eels of such size and weight are certainly possible.

  • Accurate dating of the Longfin Eel is made possible by counting the rings in their ear bone in the same way that one counts rings in a tree.
  • Even though the Longfin Eel does not have large cutting teeth, it grabs firmly at the animal with its reverse pointing teeth and then spins around violently until a chunk of flesh is torn off.

Longfin Eel Toxic Blood

The blood of the Longfin Eel is toxic. A small amount of blood splashed onto your hands and then transferred to your eyes or nose will cause swelling that lasts for days.

Small animals like dogs and cats can be killed by just ingesting a small amount of their blood. For humans, three teaspoons of blood is sufficient to result in death.

Aggressive Longfin Eel

The Longfin Eel is highly aggressive going after animals much larger than themselves. They attack in pacts with the same vigor as piranhas. If you are injured, even with a small cut, and are in a river or lake where they are found, they will locate you in minutes and start attacking in a frenzy.Fall into the water and you will not be heard from again.

The Longfin Eel may appear docile at first, but it is capable of killing a person and should be respected. They will attack any animal whether it is injured or not.