​155-Year-Old Eel: Tests To Determine Swedish Eel’s Actual Age

Author: Rob AdamsBy:
Staff Reporter
Mar. 5, 2015

A 155-year-old eel has reportedly died after a long life, being the world’s oldest, says one Swedish man.

According to E Canada Now, Tomas Kjellman says the animal was 155-years-old, putting the eel’s birth year at 1859. It was a time that Mormon pioneers were still practicing polygamy. In fact, the American Civil War had not begun. Kjellman said the creature lived in a well at his home in Brantevik until its recent death.

The European eel was purportedly thrown into the well in 1859 by 8-year-old Samuel Nilsson, according to local paper Ystad Allehenda.

When Kjellman’s family purchased the home in 1962, he “knew the house pet was included,” he told The Local. Kjellman is mourning the loss of the large-eyed animal, saying he has “memories of the eel from when I was a child.” He says he discovered Ale the eel’s overdue death when, at a recent party, he went to show Ale off to some guests, but uncovered the well and found him dead.

While this may be a 155-year-old eel, they typically live between 10 and 15 years in Europe, though one plucky female did once live to age 88 in captivity.

According to The Inquisitr, “The eel’s life was well-documented when he was alive. Tomas grew up with him.”

If Kjellman’s claims seem fishy to you, though, fear, not. Ale’s body is being sent to Stockholm’s Freshwater Laboratory, where his exact age can be determined once and for all. This ought to be interesting.

Although the body is in pieces, the entire spine is intact and the family is hoping to send along the head as well. Rings in the otolith, or ear stone, of the eel would reveal its exact age. Kjellman told The Local:

“Eels normally only live to be seven years old … They usually get so fat and their intestinal canals stop working. But this one just lived and lived and lived.”

The eel had unusually and disproportionately large eyes - “grotesquely large,” Kjellman remarked - due to a lifetime in the dark well, and may have undergone other odd changes as well.

It will be interesting to find out if it was 155-year-old eel. Many towns didn’t have public water systems until the 1960s, and eels ate the flies and other creepy crawlies, keeping the house’s water supply clean. Since its drop into the dark in 1859, the eel has been featured in books and documentaries, and made multiple cameos on Swedish TV. Kjellman said:

“It’s an amazing feeling … Amazing that it lived so long. It lived during two world wars.”

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