Electric eel

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The electric eel, ;, is a sea monster in NetHack. Like its cousin, the giant eel, it has a drowning attack that can result in a potential two-move instadeath; it also has a shocking bite attack that can destroy wands and rings. Electric eels are oviparous; if you polymorph into a female electric eel, you can use the #sit command to lay an egg.

Eating an electric eel corpse has a 47% chance of conveying shock resistance.


Electric eels are not randomly generated, but are a common sight in swamp rooms.

Six electric eels are guaranteed on the titan variant of Medusa's Island, and eight are guaranteed on the Plane of Water.


Electric eel attacks are especially concerning, as their shocking bite can destroy a ring of levitation being used to cross any moats or other large bodies of water, instantly drowning the victim even without using its dedicated attack. As with giant eels and other sea monsters, dispatch electric eels at a range outside of their reach to minimize danger, and use any monster-locating method (e.g., telepathy or warning) to make sure none of them get the jump on you. The usual safeguards against drowning attacks apply, e.g. a non-cursed oilskin cloak prevents grabbing, and having breathlessness or using a swimming polymorph form prevents drowning; a wand of teleportation can reliably warp them away even on non-teleport levels.

Electric eels are most dangerous in the Plane of Water, where the player is all but forced into proximity to them, the eels can close in (engraving is impossible), and the wand of cold and cone of cold spell are rendered unusable, as is the scroll of earth. Other methods, such as wands of teleport and levitation that can be stopped at will, are still viable. A scare tool such as a tooled horn, bugle, or leather drum will not fail because they have 0 MR. However, many players prefer to not take chances and instead use a blessed scroll of genocide to wipe out all ; right after entering the plane.

Despite being a solid source of shock resistance, with the third-highest chance after storm giants and blue dragons, other sources may be preferred since electric eel corpses usually end up stuck in the water. They are easiest to retrieve in swamps; for example, the player can either evaporate the water and enter the resulting pit, or freeze the square and any adjacent tiles of water and then dig out the corpse.

Encyclopedia entry

South-American fish (_Gymnotus electricus_), living in fresh
water. Shaped like a serpent, it can grow up to 2 metres.
This eel is known for its electrical organ which enables it
to paralyse creatures up to the size of a horse.
[ Van Dale's Groot Woordenboek der Nederlandse Taal ]

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