How do you X-ray an eel? You’re about to find out!

When our ectotherm keepers noticed that one of the eleven New Zealand longfin eels in our care had a slight bend in its back, they contacted our zoo veterinary team so they could investigate this further. While there isn’t much information about this procedure on longfin eels (a rare event that could even be a New Zealand first!), Dr James Chatterton and the team have experience taking X-rays of sharks and fish using these methods.


How do you X-ray a longfin eel?

Follow our zoo crew as they embark on a potential New Zealand first!

Luckily eels have a natural adaptation as ectotherm keeper Julie explains, and can survive on land if their bodies are kept damp. Using a natural anaesthetic, the eel was carefully examined and Dr James was able to rule out spinal injury as the cause of the issue. Armed with this knowledge our vet team can go down other avenues of inquiry.

We hope you learnt more about this endemic Aotearoa species and the work of our incredible Vet Hospital and ectotherms teams here at Auckland Zoo.