For those who follow our blogs you must’ve read the article about the cute small Snowflake eel.. They may be ankle biters, but no real harm will come from them, especially that they are so small and are super shy rather choosing to flea then attack!

But what do you do when you encounter their much larger cousins that might be able to bite your ankle right off given the chance…

Well our solution was to flee to the nearest, shallowest smallest rock we could find!

Ok, let me reverse too the beginning!

We were on our way back to shore after experiencing a super awesome neap tide… The water was only 0.3 m high in low tide and was the shallowest we have ever seen in Sodwana! It was already quite an eventful day, we found a puffer fish, a lionfish and a snowflake eel all in one day… That has to be a record of how many exotic creature we found in one day!

We were almost back on dry land when Tom stopped us dead in our tracks, luckily he spotted the eel, we were literally heading straight for it and if Tom didn’t see it might even have stepped on…

We switched the GoPro on to try film it – wasn’t aware about how it loves the camera spot light. It left it’s sunbathing spot to come show off to the camera, but obviously a wild animal swimming straight to you especially with razor sharp teeth usually means RUN!!!!

Like I mentioned before, we chose the smallest, shallowest, nearest rock we could find… I think the people that saw us standing on this tiny rock must’ve thought we were crazy!

Our eel was not very happy, if it really wanted to, it could’ve grabbed one of our legs, but instead it swam as close as possible to rock and swam past us…

We later watched the video of this encounter, unfortunately nothing worth showing, but we figured out the poor eel was just so excited to have it’s picture taken and was really just tryna pose for the camera…

I think this poor Eel was very disappointed in us for running away from it and got mad tryna get one more shot of it’s self in the camera… We have heard of a really friendly moray Eel that loves the attention of cameras, obviously we always thought the eel lived in the open deep water seas, where all the Scuba divers go to swim… But now we know it likes to visit the snorkelers as well…

Kinda disappointed now because we could’ve had really awesome footage of a beautiful Honey Comb Moray Eel…

The worst part about it all was that while doing some homework about these creatures to my article – I found out all though they might be dangerous, they don’t really care to hunt during the day and will much rather sleep or sunbathe than attack anything… You really have to annoy the poor creature for it to even think about fighting you off in the day time – although night time is an entire different story, you don’t wanna be mistaken for food…

Next time I encounter a Honeycomb Moray Eel, I will definitely be cautious, but not so afraid to give it, it’s 15 seconds of fame…

A few Fun Facts about these beautiful creatures:

  • These Honeycomb Eels has numerous names due to it’s numerous different spotted patterns… Some have more leopard spots that are quite large almost resembling patches, whilst others like the one we encountered is super spotty like a cheetah. Their main color an vary between light yellow and white, like we have experienced it all depends on how the light hit the Eel and how deep it is! The spots on the Eel can vary from the Eel its self or because of its environment… Such as if the Eel lives in clear water close to reefs, the spots could be much larger as apposed to those who live deeper in the water without much reefs around… The ones we discovered is actually the opposite way round, but maybe that’s just Sodwana…
  • Like most Eels the Honeycomb Eel loves warm water and will even settle for the red sea… These Eels can be found anywhere in the indo-west pacific ocean… They like to stay close to the reefs during the day and are ready to hunt at night! Next time you wanna plan a vacation make sure to book a beach trip to Sodwana – These Eels are real characters…
  • Honeycomb Eels love tight spaces… Like any other Eel Honeycombs love hiding away in tight fitting holes, that’s if they can find a spot that is uninhabited by another creature… If there are no small holes which the Eel can sleep in they will also reside to lying under coral/rock ledges, since they are nocturnal, they are rarely seen active during the day, if seen at all! We were extremely lucky to have found this Honeycomb Eel Sunbathing during the day out in the open!
  • Honeycomb Eels are super efficient for their environment, they help keep invasive species at bay, such as the Lion Fish. Most already know that lion fish can be super invasive and destroy entire coral reefs if not kept in check by their natural predators… I am so glad we have Moray eels in our reefs at Sodwana Bay, we have spotted a few Lion Fish in the rock pools already, good thing they will never the opportunity to take over our reefs…
  • There are to other popular names for the Eels: the laced Moray or Leopard moray, makes sense on their color variations… Honestly I always imagined every Eel been really ugly… Since the most popular Eel is the electric Moray Eel and that one is super ugly!!! But meeting a couple Snowflake eels and now the Moray Eel I found that the myth of all eels been ugly is just not true… But I guess when the majority of your species is really ugly, it makes sense everybody will just assume that everybody s ugly…
  • Honeycombs are one of the larger species of Eel reaching lengths of up to – 3 m… Although most of them you will find are much smaller than that… We estimate the one we encountered was about 2 – 2.5 m in length… Maybe almost full grown?
  • Honeycomb Eels are quite vulnerable in their bodily areas… They do not have scales, rather they secrete a type of mucus to protect their skin. Some Eels even secrete poison through their mucus – not sure if this is related to the honeycomb moray though…
  • Like most Sodwana creatures, the Honeycomb Eel is not aggressive, despite it’s huge canines and carnivorous behavior – you have a better chance of been attacked in your car by an elephant or hippo than by these guys! They are super dorsile during the day, but can mistake you for prey at night – I don’t think they can see so well – not a fact just speculation…
  • Don’t be scared if you encounter an eel with it’s moth opening and closing, they not actually thinking your a yummy snack for them, they just tryna stay alive, Eels gills sit really close to their mouths, and they open and close their mouths to get enough water to go through their gills to breath… Don’t get me wrong you should never just approach the Eel now you know it doesn’t wanna harm you… Still keep a healthy distance from it and always make sure you have an exit strategy for if things do go south… Don’t try be a mucho person and think you will be able to fight off the eel if it does attack, you will be harming yourself and the poor innocent creature that was just doing what it was programmed to do…
  • Honeycomb Eels are huge fans of Squid, octopus and any small fish that will fit in their mouths, typical fish… Every carnivorous fish I have read or written about will always pick on fish smaller than them – Bullies… Occasionally they might bite off more than they can chew and will knot their bodies to gain more leverage over their prey…

Hope you guys enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing this article…

Our factual sources for this article came from: Wikipedia and Sea Unseen

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