Tourists Caught Smuggling 48 Live Eels Through Airport

Madrid Airport narrowly misses ‘Snakes on a Plane’ situation with smuggled eels
European eel


Some tourists were caught trying to smuggle 48 live eels from Madrid to Hong Kong in their suitcases. 

Eels can make a very tasty snack, especially when fresh and well-prepared, but some tourists attempting to smuggle the freshest eels back home got caught by customs this week with 48 live ones wriggling around in their suitcases.

According to The Local, the Madrid Airport narrowly avoided a Snakes on a Plane-type situation this week when customs officials caught a group of passengers trying to smuggle 48 live eels to China in their checked luggage. The other passengers should probably be grateful the smugglers were trying to check the eels in specially chilled suitcases, rather than trying to sneak them through in their carry-on baggage.

The snakes were bound for Hong Kong, but have since beer rerouted to Madrid’s Zoo-Aquarium, where experts will check to see if the eels are common eels, or the critically endangered European eel, which is a protected species.


Eels are still a tasty and nutritious delicacy, however, so anyone who comes by some legally should check out our best eel recipes for some ideas of what to do with them.