Åle the eel was a legend in Sweden.
The oldest eel in Sweden (al is eel in Swedish) died after living an unprecedented 155 years.
The eel has been in the well of Tomas Kjellman’s farm for decades.
Kjellman lives in the little fishing town of Brantevik in Skane and told the Swedish newspaper The Local that the eel was like part of the family.
My family bought the cottage in 1962, and we always knew the housepet was included.”
The eel has been around for at least 150 years.
According to the Local, an 8-year-old Swedish boy by the name of Samuel Nilsson threw the eel into the well back in 1859.
Throwing an eel into a well was the equivalent back then, apparently, of children throwing objects into the toilet today.
The eel actually did good for the farm. Because many towns like Brantevik didn’t have public water systems until the 1960s, the eel ate flies and other critters which kept the house water supply clean.
The discovery that the eel was dead was made during a traditional Swedish crayfish party. The family wanted to show off its elderly eel and when it lifted the lid from the well, they saw the eel was in pieces.
Its head was off and Kjellman told the Local that it appeared the eel had simply “boiled.”
Of course it’s sad. I have memories of the eel from when I was a child.”
The spine was intact so tests will be done to see how old the eel actually was; rings in the eel’s otolith–the calcium deposit in the eel’s inner ear–should give a precise date of how old it is.
Eels in the wild live only to about the age of seven, according to Kjellman, but the average life span of them are 30 to 40 years old.
Another “junior” eel in the well is believed to be 110 years old.
Photo credit: The Local