The whole of Sweden was thrown into mourning this week after news broke that their beloved world’s oldest eel has died.
Ale the eel lived for 155 years, according to its owners. The typical life span of an eel is between 15 and 60 years, which makes Ale’s case very very unique.
According to locals, Ale was thrown into a well located in the small Swedish fishing town of Brantevik by a boy in 1859 … and it had lived there till its death, helping to purify the water by eating the insects inside. This also means that Ale may even be older than 155, as there was no record of it being born in the well.
According to Tomas Kjellman, the owner of the cottage where the well is situated, Ale was part of their family ever since they bought the property in 1962. Every time guests come over for their traditional crayfish party, the family always took them to the well to show off the elderly eel.
Until one fateful day.
‘It was uncanny when we took off the lid and saw it in pieces. It had apparently been there for a while and had basically boiled,’ 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.’
Ale – who has been featured in documentaries, books Swedish TV since 1859 – has not yet been buried. Instead, its remains have been put in a freezer and experts will conduct an ‘autopsy’ to find out how it managed to live for so long.
Ale is survived by a fellow elderly eel living in the same well, who is currently 110 years old.