Moray Eel attack?

Discussion in 'Accidents and Incidents' started by Mr. Bubble, Mar 27, 2010.

  1. Mr. Bubble

    Mr. Bubble Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: SC
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    Have you ever been attacked by an eel? I was always under the impression that they look mean, but are relitively harmless. I guess I found out what "relitively harmless" really means. I went diving at a wonderfull Caribbean vaction locale and incountered a free swimming morey on a night dive. My buddy and I saw the eel, and I reached over to touch its tail. As I glanced on past him (her), I felt this intense tugging on the thigh of my wetsuit. I figured it was my buddy getting my attention to look at the eel and shrugged it off. The next thing I know is that the morey eel was up close and personnal with my BC, legs, tank and almost biting my face. I raised my hand and it swam off. That was exhilerating to say the least. After the dive, my buddy said, "I want to shake the hand of a man who servived a morey attack". I was like, " what do you mean?". It appears that the intense tugging I felt was the morey gnawing on my leg. It did'nt leave any marks on my wetsuit, thank goodness. It was brand new.
    Anyone else have any eel stories? I now have a little more respect for these critters.
    So relitively, I was attacked severly, but was not harmed.

    just fodder for the masses :shocked2:

    Mr. B
     
  2. aquaregia

    aquaregia NAUI Instructor

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    I've never considered "relatively harmless" to mean "something that wants to be petted."
     
  3. ScubaFeenD

    ScubaFeenD Deep South DIR

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    Generally speaking, I am always under the impression that you should not poke and prod at animals with large teeth. Marine life is better to look at than to touch, and if you had ended up with a laceration things might not have gone so well.
     
  4. skynscuba

    skynscuba Surface Interval Member

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    I saw a free swimming green moray bite a woman in the face. It was poking around in the coral, and suddenly a high-speed lobster blasted out. The moray tried for the lobster, missed, and bit the woman. She didn't even see it -- at first, she thought someone had kicked her.

    I'll get up pretty close if they are in their hole, but I give the free swimming ones plenty of room now.

    A friend of mine was on a dive in Maui, and the dive master reached into a hole to try to get an octopus out. The DM found out the hard way that there was also a moray in the hole, when it bit his hand.
     
  5. gcbryan

    gcbryan Great White

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    If you stuck you hand in the face of a cougar and got bitten would you feel that you had been attacked?

    DM's sticking theirs hands in holes for octopus?

    I always assume that people have common sense but I'm frequently wrong.
     
  6. Dirty-Dog

    Dirty-Dog Deleted by Mod Staff ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Pueblo West, CO, USA
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    Spend some time in an ER and you quickly learn that common sense isn't.
     
  7. sydney-diver

    sydney-diver Barracuda

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    Common sense isn't very common...
     
  8. Mr. Bubble

    Mr. Bubble Nassau Grouper

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    Location: SC
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    It was a night dive. The eel just sort of appeared, free swimming within arms reach. I touched the very end of it's tail as it passed by. It must have circled around without me noticing and then attaked my leg. It then wrapped itself all around my tank, throughy legs again, heading for my face, mouth wide open. My only defense was an arm strike towards it, and it swam away.

    Don't include me with people who stick their hands in holes while underwater.

    As my first post stated, I am interested in reports of other attacks of this nature,

    Thanks.
     
  9. USCScubaboy

    USCScubaboy Barracuda

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    Just because an animal is within arm's reach doesn't mean you should have touched it.

    But, from your OP, it sounds like you've learned a valuable lesson from your experience. :thumbs-up
     
  10. sydney-diver

    sydney-diver Barracuda

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    I don't see a lot of difference to be honest, touching a Moray is asking for trouble. I've seen a photo of what one did to someones thumb (tore it off) when he tried something similar. Plus when you touch an animal and it strikes you it's more defensive, not really an attack?
     
  11. dkktsunami

    dkktsunami Loggerhead Turtle

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    You touched its tail and it touched yours................that's amore.
     
  12. Scott L

    Scott L Giant Squid

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    They can inflict some nasty wounds with likely infection as they are scavengers...Check out this account of a local dive charter operator and top-flight spreafisherman who lost a body part from the bite of a puffer fish...

    http://www.emeraldcharters.com/stories.htm
     
  13. Mr. Bubble

    Mr. Bubble Nassau Grouper

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    Location: SC
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  14. cappyjon431

    cappyjon431 Scuba Instructor

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    I've seen a few divers badly bitten by moray eels, but none of the incidents could be classified as an "attack." Probably the most memorable was a photographer who was warned repeatedly about disturbing the reef to get his photos. He laid on top of the reef and got badly bitten on the stomach by a pissed off green moray. I couldn't laugh, but I wanted to.

    One thing to remember about morays is they have terrible eyesight. When they are out free-swimming they are essentially looking for another place in the reef to hide. Your BC and body probably looked like a great place to hide. Since I imagine your thigh was moving, it probably looked/felt like potential prey. I certainly wouldn't classify this as an "attack."
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2010
  15. Crush

    Crush Loggerhead Turtle

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    :rofl3:
     
  16. awap

    awap Giant Squid

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    After feeding the stingrays in GC, I had a morey named psycho come after me. He swan a good 10 feed out of the reef and finally pulled away within one foot of me. He was not attacking me but was follow the scent of squid still on my hand. So, it was not an attack on me, rather normal hunting/feeding behavior.

    Your morey must have smelled something on your WS and decided to give it a taste. I have seen moreys that appeared to seek interaction with divers (not necessarily contact) and they are usually the better swimmers. We had one that approached from behind us and slowly swam through our group in Roatan. It did this three times before it finally disappeared. No contact but passed within a foot or two of a number of divers including swimming between the legs of one diver.
     
  17. Garrobo

    Garrobo Great White

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    Morays are EVIL. Leave them alone or they'll bite your a$$.
     
  18. idocsteve

    idocsteve Loggerhead Turtle

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    The video you supplied the link to does not appear to be an "attack."

    The guy is feeding the eel a hot dog and it mistook his finger for the intended bait.
     
  19. Doubler

    Doubler Loggerhead Turtle

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    I have been attacked twice, both times in Hawaii, both times unprovoked from my point of view but probably not the Eels. First time I was just cruising the reef off of Wainaie when this BIG Green Head come rocketing out the rocks and started chase. I swam for all I was worth and he quit after about 25 feet. Second time, again in Wainaie, back when I was young and dumb I was an invertebrate collector, shrimp , starfish and the like. I use to collect on one dive and survey the next. At the time Ghost Shrimp were a hot aquarium species. I always found them in water 60 to 80 feet deep in caves. So me and my wife are out surveying and come across this cave with a little White-tip laying on the bottom, so I scoot him out and go in. Now Trish hated when I did that and would chew my butt about smacking' sharks but I did it anyway. So we are in the cave, I am up this chimney, counting shrimp , when I hear this blood curdling scream and I get jerked straight down. I am thinking WTF, Trish is giving me the Surface NOW signal so up we go. We get back on the boat and she is crying and hugging me, I keep asking her what is wrong. She goes "You didn't feel that? " I said "What you jerking me down?" She goes "No the bite", "What bite", "Look at the back of your tank". So I do and here are scratches that pretty much cover the back of the tank and the do look like teeth marks. I asked her what happened. She said she kept watching the entrance for the Shark to come back in all pissed off, when this hugh Green Head showed up outside. He took one look at my dangling legs and shot forward, mouth opened, Trish jerked me down and he bite the tank, spun around and headed on out. I never felt a thing. I have THE BEST dive buddy in the world. Lessons Learned 1. Leave Nature alone. Look take pictures leave bubbles. I quit collecting and spear fishing after this incident. Took up photography. Were these attacks, well if you consider defending your home or turf attacks, yes they were. I respect Green Head Morays to this day and give them a wide berth. Those guys get big and aggressive. In the time since I have taken some great close up shots of all different types of Morays, except the Green Head.
     
  20. idocsteve

    idocsteve Loggerhead Turtle

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    ^ Maybe in both of those cases it was a delayed response to a provocation on an earlier dive.
     

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