1. The Anguilla, or Common Eel, which is very frequent in all pur fresh waters, ponds, ditches, and rivers. This is a very singular creature, and in some respects par-takes of the nature of reptiles ; be-ing known to quit its element, and to wander during the night along the meadows, both to change its habitation, and to obtain prey ; feeding on snails as it glides along. During winter, the common eel buries itself deeply in the mud, where it continues in a torpid state, similar to that of serpents. It is extremely sensible of cold, and will eagerly take shelter in a wisp of straw thrown into a pond in severe weather, which stratagem has been successfully practised to catch these fish during the winter season.
Eels are exceedingly voracious, and destructive to the fry of other fish; and are remarkable for their tenacity of life, as their dissevered parts move for a considerable time after they are flayed. Common eels grow to a large size, sometimes weighing 15, or 20lbs.; but are, in general, from 11/2 to 2 feet in length. - Their fat is reputed to be vulnerary, and has been recommended externally in cases of deafness, and in the hemorrhoids.—• When this fish is half fried, and its fat carefully expressed and clarified, the oil of eels is the most subtle for watches, and other diminutive machinery; as it never thickens, and consequently preserves the iron from the effects of rust.
2. The Conger, or Conger-eel, grows to an uncommon size, and is found chiefly on the coast of Cornwall, where great numbers of it are taken, and when slit, are hung on a frame to dry, and then exported. Conger-eels are sometimes l00lb. in weight, and extremely voracious, preying on other fish, as well as on crabs, when these have cast their shells, and are in a soft state. - Being exceedingly fond of carcasses of any kind, their flesh, though difficult of digestion, is very agreeable, and in great request among epicures. Persons afflicted with nervous, asthmatic, and consumptive disorders, ought, however, carefully to abstain from eel-pies, or any dishes prepared of that luxurious fish.