Previous: How To Taxidermy A Squirrel: Part II
Next: How to Cut a Trail in Amazonia



View count:71,673
Last sync:2024-02-13 06:45


Citation formatting is not guaranteed to be accurate.
MLA Full: "An Electric Eel and a Caiman." YouTube, uploaded by thebrainscoop, 22 April 2015,
MLA Inline: (thebrainscoop, 2015)
APA Full: thebrainscoop. (2015, April 22). An Electric Eel and a Caiman [Video]. YouTube.
APA Inline: (thebrainscoop, 2015)
Chicago Full: thebrainscoop, "An Electric Eel and a Caiman.", April 22, 2015, YouTube, 06:21,
Wherein Isobel and Maria show us the ropes -- or nets -- for surveying fishes in the Amazon. The distribution of fish in tropical river systems is important to understanding how animals move around these waterways. Where there are big fish -- like the electric eel -- we know there must be an ample supply of prey species, too!

This is a segment in a series about The Field Museum's Rapid Inventory No. 27, a journey through the forests between the rivers Tapiche and Blanco in Peru. Every year, the Museum's conservation group [the Action Center!] gathers together leading scientific experts across a number of disciplines (botany, zoology, geology, and anthropology) in order to gain an understanding of little-known areas of the rainforest. They work with local communities and their governments to help inform decisions made for conserving these unique, precious, and threatened parts of the world.

To learn more about the Rapid Inventory program, check out the other Amazon Adventures!

Read more about The Field Museum's Rapid Inventory programs:

This expedition would not have been possible without the generosity and help of Corine Vriesendorp, Nigel Pitman, Alvaro del Campo, Tyana Wachter, Ernesto Ruelas, and the rest of the Rapid Inventory team. Thank you for allowing us to join you on this journey, and for giving us the trip of a lifetime.


Producer, Writer, Creator, Host:
Emily Graslie

Producer, Writer, Editor, Camera:
Tom McNamara

Theme music:
Michael Aranda

Created By:
Hank Green

Supported by:
The Field Museum in Chicago, IL

Filmed on location between the rivers Tapiche and Blanco in Peru.
(opening theme)

(music) (sounds of forest)

Emily: So we're out here with Maria and Isabel and they are ichthyologist, and we're going to go fishing. They have this net... and where they sweep the net through the deeper parts of the water and try to get the fish to um, either be pinned against the bank or into the net, and they pull it up and see what's in this area. We're gonna go do that.


(1:16) E: So are you ever afraid that you're like, scaring the fish off by walking up the stream and they're probably getting out the way. Or is that something that-

Isabel: Yeah. We ' suppose to- like make that noise because they will run away. So you're supposed to like be very quiet and you can do something like wait- you know put the net and make a noise over there so the fish will come and then you can catch them.

E: Oh ok. So let us know if we need to be quiet.

I: Well we're specifically trying to get an electric eel. So this is why we're just going to this type of area.

Tom: So what about this water makes it perfect for the eel?

I: Because it's dark and it's very deep. So they can be there kinda like hiding because, you know, if you know the eel is black it's because is the water. Probably could be like less, like, whiter if they're in the white water. But this is black water so that is why it's black. So this is why you make it perfect.

E: Yeah.

I: You can hide.

E: You can hide out.

I: Camouflage?

E: Yeah, camouflage.


(2:33) E: And web's. All over the place.

(2:39) Tom: What's going on right now, Emily?

E: So Maria's coming down from up stream trying to scare all the fish in this little net over here.

(2:57) Maria: Lift the net.


E: Wow!

Maria: This is the famous eel.

(Man): It is the one that had escaped before.


(Man?) Alright. Alright.

E: We caught the eel. We found the white whale.

Maria: (giggling)

Emily: I feel like Ishmael a little bit. Actually I didn't do anything, I just stood here while they ah, shuttled into the net. But it's an amazing creature and it's so fascinating that you can have these massive like four and a half feet to five feet, you know, meter and a half long eels, living in an area like this. Because this, because the water gets so low that at times they have to kind of wiggle their way across the land and try and find different pools to live in. So it's pretty amazing that they can make a living down here and grow so large. 

(3:55) I: Nice

M: Ready? That's its home.

(4:14) E: You going?

(Tom): Yep.

E: So on tonight's adventures at the dinner table, we were all sitting around chatting with Pablo - one of our herpetologists -walked up holding this guy, which is a pygmy dwarf caiman that he found a little up stream from our bathing area. And ah kind of in his nature, he went in a grabbed it and brought it to show it to us.

Pablo: --also called a smoot-front caiman. It's a small species of caiman that lives in streams ah and lagoon in the amazon. Don't need open area for basking like other caimans, like spectacled caimans or black caimans. 

E: So I think it's ah- one species out of a couple that live here in the Amazon. Some of the other species-- ah one of them is endangered, its hunted for its skin. I think this one is a little more common, and adults can be around a meter and a half long, so probably 5 and a half feet. And he's not too happy right now, so we're just going to get some footage of it and let him go. Maybe further away from the bathing area. Don't really want that.

I have ants in my eye. Woa-oh can somebody help. Oh oh-oh - ya get him? That was ants in my glasses. You got him?

Man taking Caiman: Yeah, I got him. 

E: You got him? Alvaro looks way more badass holding that thing than I do. 

(6.06) (theme song)

(6:18) E: still has brains on it.