Green Moray Eel

The waters around Key West are packed with some of the most fascinating, beautiful and exciting aquatic species in the world. Key West snorkeling gives divers and swimmers the chance to observe some of these amazing species in their natural habitats, and the green moray eel is one creature you’ll definitely want to see up close and personal.

Though the green moray eel is actually a dull brown color, its body is completely covered by a slimy mucous that gives the eel an eerily-glowing green appearance. The green moray produces and secretes this oozing slime as a protective layer against parasites, since it doesn’t have scales like some other eel species.

The green moray eel has a beautiful smooth body, which moves like a fluid, satiny ribbon as it swims. This, however, is paired with a face that only a mother could love; its beady eyes, oddly-shaped nose and menacing teeth make it look like a strange underwater alien. The moray has terrible eyesight, and instead uses its powerful sense of smell to help it track down food at night. It dines primarily on small crustaceans, squid and fish, and it hides in rocky underwater crevices and simply waits for its next meal to swim by.

A solitary creature, the moray eel spends most of its time alone, but will join up with certain other fish species to hunt for food. This type of hunting alliance is called nuclear hunting, and fish and eels will form a temporary team to catch food quickly and efficiently. It’s not uncommon to see green moray eels hunting with small of schools grouper.

It’s still a mystery how long green moray eels live, but one captive moray lived for an astonishing 85 years. These amazing eels are part of what make Key West snorkeling a unique and once-in-a-lifetime experience.