Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. The American eels is the only freshwater eel that occurs in North America and like its European counterpart, it only lives part of its life in freshwater. While usually smaller, it can grow to about five feet. American and European eels live as adults in rivers and streams, often swimming upstream in Florida to some of our springs. They are also tough fishes, able to survive out of water long enough to move through wet grass from a stream to nearby ponds. When it comes time to breed, these eels swim downstream to the Gulf of Mexico on the Atlantic to an area of the Atlantic known as the 'Sargasso Sea'. The Sargasso Sea is two million square mile area of relatively calm water south of Bermuda where there is an abundance of floating sea plants known as sargassum. It's among these plants that American and European eels lay their eggs and where their young find safety and food to begin life before migrating to the rivers and streams of America and Europe. Both American and European eels are important commercial fishes, but they're also poisonous unless cooked. Their blood includes toxins that are destroyed by cooking.'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.