The Docile Snake-Like Bottom Dweller

Snake eels are easily identifiable by their long, snake-like bodies and pointed tail and snout. They can range in length from 5 cm (2 in) to 2.3 m (7.5 ft) long and typically exhibit colorful spots or stripes. The name “snake eel“ represents over 200 marine fish species within the Ophichthidae family, all of which are more docile than their aggressive cousins, the moray eels. Snake eels live throughout the world, mostly in warm, tropical waters or temperate locations. They have a wide range of habitats, from shallow reefs down to the depths of the ocean.

Snake eels use their pointed tails to burrow backward into the sandy ocean floor or rocky reef to hide from predators. Most species lack fins to make their backward, slithering escape easier. Seeing a snake eel is a thrilling encounter. Look for them along the seafloor as they are typically bottom dwellers that like to hide in the sand or mud and stock their prey of small fish and crustaceans. Explore the map below to find out where you can dive with snake eels.