are top of the food chain in New Zealand’s rivers. No other species prey on them when they are adult apart from humans. There are in total three species:
- longfin eel (located inland);
- shortfin eel (located near the coast);
- spotted eel (likely arrived from Australia and found in the country's north).
Eels are slow growing. They start life as a tiny one millimetre long fish, but can grow up to two metres because they can also live for a good number of years. Some have been estimated to be at least 60 years old.
Eels can temporarily leave the water to grab food. There are places in New Zealand where you can feed eels and they seem relatively tame. They can even be trained to appear at feeding time when you call or make a banging sound.
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