I designed a humanoid race with bio-electric organs along the arms which release electricity through the hand to the victims (it has to be done in direct contact).

The electricity released has to be strong enough to stun the victim but cause no harm to the attacker

  • How do I make the attacker immune to the electrical charge during an attack?

  • What is the minimal electricity needed to stun animals of any size? the largest animals in my world can reach 80 meters in length and weight 90 metric tons.

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    $\begingroup$ You might want to look to electric eels for inspiration. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Aug 13, 2016 at 17:17
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    $\begingroup$ People can survive lightning strikes (most do survive, as I've read), which is in the ballpark of 300kV. Electrics eels produce less than 1000 volts -- enough to kill smaller fish, or stun a horse, but far short of what would kill a large animal. I suggest rethinking: stunning the target, even momentarily, would require far less energy and give the attacker the opportunity to kill by more traditional means. $\endgroup$
    – rek
    Aug 13, 2016 at 17:31
  • $\begingroup$ @rek -- eh, 1kV can kill you without hesitation provided the source is low-Z enough (a lightning strike is generated from a 300kV potential difference, but the bolt itself is more on the order of a few kV from tip to tail as the dynamic impedance of the plasma core is quite low) $\endgroup$
    – Shalvenay
    Aug 13, 2016 at 17:49
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  • $\begingroup$ I tried to improve on the title. Feel free to edit further. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Aug 13, 2016 at 18:43

1 Answer 1


The creature avoids electrocuting itself by having some insulating material 'backing' the electric organ. So the electricity follows the path of least resistance (into the prey) rather than discharging back into the attacker.

If you want to incapacitate a big animal, target its heart or brain. Zapping the tail of a cow will just get you kicked. Jumping on it and zapping the chest area near the heart will kill it. There's an important safety reason for paramedics yelling "Clear!" when they use defibrilators: it would be rather embarrassing to re-start the patient's heart and accidentally stop someone else's heart at the same time!

Zapping the heart is definitely a killing thing, not a stunning one. Go for the brain for a stun. BUT read this article on electronarcosis in slaughterhouses (page 8) - the stunning is equivalent to a grand mal epileptic fit. It is not like getting zapped by Captain Kirk with his phaser on stun. Page 10 shows duration of the stun in various farm animals, and page 12 has the amps and voltages. Looks like 200V is the minimum acceptable in modern slaughterhouses.

As well as Michael Kjörling's suggestion of electric eels, you might want to look at Torpedo rays. Scroll down to the bottom third of the page to read what voltages they use and how they stun prey. That paper says they stuns them and then eat them alive. In the past I saw one which said the electricity can sometimes cause the prey to spasm so violently that it breaks its back, but I can't find that one.

If something is as big as 80 metres long, your creatures won't have an arm span long enough to encompass it's heart (I'm assuming they are human sized). They may have to form a team to take down a diplodocus or blue whale.

  • $\begingroup$ An extra mark for the teamwork in taking down a diplodocus. $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Aug 14, 2016 at 10:36

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