Moral eels live in coral reefs among coral heads and rocks. They look like snakes but are in fact fish with elongated slender bodies with a dorsal fin that runs from their head to their tail. Moray eels hide in holes or crevices among rocks and corals with their head stuck out of the hole ready to ambush unsuspecting prey.
Geometric Moray Eel
They hunt at night relying on their sense of smell because they have poor eye sight. As carnivorous animals, their diet is mostly fish, molluscs and crustaceans. The giant moray eel has been reported to attack and eat reef sharks.
Giant Moray Eel
Moray eels in turn are eaten by larger reef fish like groupers, barracuda and sharks. People eat them too. Their mouth is usually open revealing a set of scary teeth which can give you a nasty bite. But they usually prefer to stay hidden. They have to continually open and close their mouths to have water circulating around their gills which are at the back of their heads. To keep their skin smooth and not injured while swimming in the coral beds, eels secrete mucus over the skin.
An amazing fact
Moray eels have two sets of teeth. One set is in the throat and the other in the mouth. The teeth in the throat are called pharyngeal jaws, which are thrust forward to grab and drag prey down through their digestive system. The teeth are also pointed backwards, which prevents the victim from escaping. Moray eels that become used to people feeding them can be aggressive and seek food from them. This is dangerous because moray eels have poor sight and can accidentally bite off the fingers of the feeders. Another danger is that introducing more food in nature creates an ecological imbalance and could affect the animal with disease.