Sunday, September 14, 2014

Scuba Diver Petting A Friendly Moray Eel

Here's something you don't see everyday: a friendly wild moray eel. So friendly, in fact, that the diver could actually pet it. DON'T DO THIS AT HOME, KIDS.

Video is from the Central Florida Aquarium Society, please visit their website for more info.

Scuba Diver Petting a Friendly Moray Eel

The diver has been visiting the moray eel's home year after year and the eel have never cared for her presence. One year, the eel came out of her coral shelter and allowed the diver to pet her. You can also see the eel taking fish from the diver's hand. Sometimes it would be years before the diver can revisit the eel, but somehow the moray eel remembers her. Maybe it remembers her scent (moray eels have poor eyesight, but have an excellent sense of smell), maybe it's the fish. Who knows.

Moray Eel Disposition

Moray eels are known to be extremely shy animals, it's quite awe inducing to see a wild one appear to enjoy being petted by a diver. As amazing the video was, I couldn't help but think of the effects of excessive human exposure to wild animals. There have been a lot of reports of them becoming docile, and in effect, a danger to themselves.

Being a large fish, the moray eel is one of the most dominant predators within its environment. Its ability to snake in and out of crevices make them highly effective on hunting down fish, molluscs and crustaceans. But this ability doesn't stop them from being preyed upon by larger fish like groupers and barracudas, as well as sharks and humans. It sure doesn't help if they've become friendly to divers. I'm not sure what the diver's intentions are for visiting the eel year after year, but I do hope this "friendship" is restricted to this particular diver only.

Moray Eels as Pets

If you have a sudden hankering for owning a moray eel after watching this video, you are probably not alone. The good news is, there are several types of moray eels that are suitable for the home aquarium. Bad news is, they're not exactly what one would consider as "starter fish". You must be an experienced saltwater or brackish tank owner in order to keep these eels happy. These books should help get you started:

Keeping Moray Eels in Aquariums
Saltwater Aquariums for Dummies
Saltwater Aquariums For Dummies

Moray Eels for the Faint of Heart

If you are a huge fan of moray eels but are daunted by the task of saltwater/brackish tank upkeep, not to worry. You can still fulfill your need to pet eels with these awesomely designed plushies. It's not the real thing, but hey, it's closest you can get to hugging them. Found some really cool cufflinks, too!
Adventure Planet Plush - Dragon Moray Eel
Adventure Planet Plush - DRAGON MORAY EEL - $8.99
Adventure Planet Plush - RIBBON MORAY EEL - $3.15
Adventure Planet Plush - RIBBON MORAY EEL - $3.15

TY Beanie Baby - Morrie the Eel
TY Beanie Baby - MORRIE the Eel Toy - $7.00
Solid Pewter Eel Cufflinks with Gift Box
Solid Pewter Eel Cufflinks with Gift Box

And lastly, I can't publish a blog post about moray eels without a moray eel meme. Enjoy!