American Eel American eels are catadromous, living in fresh water, spawning in salt water. Eels span a wider range of latitudes than any other species in North America. They occur as far west as New Mexico and they are common throughout the Caribbean and the West Indies. While in fresh water, eels live in a variety of stream habitats, especially where they can hide under logs, rocks and undercut banks. Eel can live over a decade and reach lengths of five feet.
Eels have a snake-like body and small sharp pointed head. Color is brown on top and tan-yellow color on the belly. They are covered with tiny embedded scales and a thick mucus layer. Mouths are equipped with many sharp teeth. All fins are fused into one long fin extending around the body. They have the ability to absorb oxygen through their skins to breathe.
American Eels lay buried in mud or gravel during the day and feed primarily at night. They are generic feeder, eating small fish, shrimp, crayfish, aquatic insects and their larva, snails, mussels, aquatic worms, and amphibians. Should animals fall into the water, it may be on menu also. Plus, they will scavenge.
After the adult eels spawn, they die. Eels then start their lives an egg in the Sargasso Sea near the Bahamas. The larvae, called “glass eels,” are very thin and nearly transparent. It can take a year before they reach fresh water, and many fall to predation. Once they enter the river they change into a new body shape. These rounder and darker fish are called "elvers."