American Eels are eaten by many people, especially in Europe and Asia. Because of this, elvers are captured and exported to other countries. Recently, scientists are becoming concerned that "over-fishing" of eels may be impacting them in a negative way. American Eels are helpful because they control insect and fish populations. They also eat dead animal matter and other stinky things that other animals won't eat. This helps waterways stay clean and healthy. American Eels are basically harmless, but large ones will bite if handled.
American eels are the only catadromous fish in North America. The term catadromous means they spend most of their lives in fresh water, but return to the sea to breed.
As American Eels move upstream, they often have to navigate around obstacles. Eels can climb over rocks, dams, and even waterfalls.
They have the ability to absorb oxygen throught their skins to breathe. This allows them to survive out of water for several hours. If an eel is found doing this, it is most often on a damp, rainy night.
Eels can also travel by underground waterways. This explains how eels are found in ponds that don't have a stream leading to it.