European Eel

Creature Feature – European Eel

This week on Creature Feature Friday we take a look at the European Eel.

In honour of World Wetlands Day 2023, which was celebrated yesterday, today we take a detailed look at the European eel.
35% of all wetlands plants and animals are at risk of extinction, and the UK’s freshwater and wetlands species, such as the European eel, are some of the most threatened.

European Eel


Scientific Name: Anguilla anguilla 

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Order: Anguilliformes

Family: Anguillidae

Genus: Anguilla 


European Eel Fact File

? Size: Individuals reach 60–80cm in length, but can reach up to 1.5m and they can weigh up to 6.5kg

? Distribution: This species is widely distributed within European freshwaters and can be found in a wide variety of freshwater and estuarine habitats. It’s journey to the Sargasso Sea, is one of the most impressive

? Diet: At night, European eels emerge to feed on a variety of food sources, depending on their life stage. Their diet can include everything from other fish to molluscs and crustaceans, to insects, worms, and carrion

? Behaviour: European eels spend most of their adult lives in freshwater rivers, streams, and estuaries before returning to the open ocean to spawn and lay eggs. As young larvae, baby eels drift around the sea for between seven months and three years.

? IUCN Status: Critically Endangered. Top threats include: climate change, diseases and parasites, habitat loss, pollutants, and predation