Diver Loses Thumb Feeding Moray Eels

Diver Loses Thumb Feeding Moray Eels, Not for the Squeamish

Diver Loses Thumb Feeding Moray Eels

This is a fairly graphic video of when a diver loses his thumb feeding Moray Eels.  Consider yourself warned.

Diver Loses Thumb Feeding Moray Eels

Moray Eels are often thought of as particularly vicious or ill-tempered animals. But in reality, morays hide from humans in crevices and would rather flee than fight. They are shy and secretive, and attack humans only in self defense or mistaken identity. Most attacks stem from disruption of a moray’s burrow (to which they do react strongly).

Diver Loses Thumb Feeding Moray Eels

As you saw in the video (if you dared watch it), attacks can sometimes happen by hand feeding Morays.  This is never a good idea but of often done by dive companies to attract tourists. Moray Eels have poor vision and rely mostly on their acute sense of smell, making distinguishing between fingers and held food difficult.  Because of several occurences of this, the hand feeding of Moray Eels has been banned in some locations, including the Great Barrier Reef.

Moray Eels’ heads are too narrow to create the negative pressure most fishes use to swallow prey. Quite Nat geopossibly because of this, they have a second set of jaws in their throat called pharyngeal jaws, which also possess teeth (like tilapia). When feeding, morays launch these jaws into the mouth, where they grasp prey and transport it into the throat and digestive system. Moray eels are the only animals that use pharyngeal jaws to actively capture and restrain prey.  Larger morays are capable of seriously wounding humans.

The moray’s rear-hooked teeth and primitive but strong bite mechanism also makes bites on humans more severe, as the eel cannot release its grip, even in death, and must be manually pried off. While the majority are not believed to be venomous, circumstantial evidence suggests a few species may be.

There are approximately 200 species of Moray Eels, almost all of which are exclusively marine, but several species are regularly seen in brackish water, and a few, can sometimes be found in fresh water.  The largest species are found at reefs in warm oceans. Very few species occur outside the tropics or subtropics.  They generally live at depths to several hundred meters.

The smallest Moray Eel is likely Snyder’s moray (Anarchias leucurus), with a maximum length of 11.5 cm (4.5 in).  The longest species, the slender giant moray (Strophidon sathete) reaches up to 4 m (13 ft). The largest in terms of total mass is the giant moray (Gymnothorax javanicus), which reaches 3 m (9.8 ft) in length and 30 kg (66 lb) in weight.

Morays are carnivorous and feed primarily on other fish, cephalopods, molluscs, sea snakes, and crustaceans. Groupers, barracudas, and sea snakes are among their few predators.

Tiger Eel

Diver Loses Thumb Feeding Moray EelsPhotograph by Tesche Dokumentarfilm

A Tiger Moray Eel with its jaws open. The Tiger Moray is distinctive for its bright yellow coloring and elongated jaw, which is filled with a large number of long “glasslike” teeth. It can reach up to 120 cm in length.

Honeycomb Eel

Diver Loses Thumb Feeding Moray Eels

Photograph by Tesche Dokumentarfilm

A Honeycomb moray eel swimming near the rocky bottom of the ocean floor. There are more than 200 species that inhabit tropical and subtropical seas across the planet.

Diver Loses Thumb Feeding Moray Eels, Not for the Squeamish


I hope you have enjoyed, “Diver Loses Thumb Feeding Moray Eels, Not for the Squeamish

MY QUESTION FOR YOU TODAYHave you ever seen such a thing as the Moray Eel?  Looks like an alien species, doesn’t it?  Would you be crazy enough to try and feed one?

You might also like to read, Watch a Female Red King Crab Molting Out of its Shell [Video]


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Jeanne Melanson


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Jeanne Melanson

Owner at Animal Bliss
Born in Nova Scotia, I moved to the United States 20+ years ago.I am a dedicated lover of animals and fight for their rights and protection.I love people too, of course, and enjoy meeting folks from all walks of life.I enjoy philosophical discussion, laughing, and really odd ball stuff.I hope you enjoy my site.Leave me a comment to let me know you were here!Peace out.
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9 thoughts on “Diver Loses Thumb Feeding Moray Eels, Not for the Squeamish

  1. Beautiful animals Jeanne! We’ve seen them in aquariums, especially here in Thailand. As for the diver, way too bad, but feeding these guys puts you at risk. Thanks 😉

    • I’ve never actually seen one, but would love to. They are fascinating. I wouldn’t want to feed one though. Especially now, knowing about that second set of jaws they have. Wow. Thanks for your comment.!

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