Dangers Of A Moray Eel Bite

Moray eels are a relatively common species, typically found in freshwater or brackish habitats. Typically, this fish prefers to head into the warmer waters, sticking to the shallow areas, close to the shore or reefs.

Their distinctive shapes have made them instantly identifiable, with many people opting to keep them as pets. But, in the right circumstances, they can get aggressive. So, what should you do when faced with a moray eel bite?

Why Do Moray Eels Bite?

When dealing with animal bites, it’s best to try to prevent the kind of circumstances that can lead to you getting bit. In most cases, these eels are quite sedentary and aren’t dangerous.

However, if the animal mistakes you for prey, they can get aggressive, striking at you. This is most common when you try to interact with the eels around feeding time.

Another common reason why people get bit is that they have made the moray eel feel threatened. When they feel like they could be in danger, they will attack. Due to their size, and powerful jaw, this can sometimes result in serious damage.

In some cases, people have even had them bite off their thumb. Your risk triggering this response if you attempt to pat the animal in your home aquarium. If in the wild, divers might get attacked if they go too close to the eel’s habitat.

Are Moray Eels Poisonous?

If you get a moray eel bite, you need to know how to know whether or not they are poisonous. There are a few toxins that the eels can produce which can be very dangerous.

First, they have a toxin on the skin that causes your red blood cells to clump together. The fish also excrete a toxin in their mouth, which can start to eliminate your red blood cells. Because of this, you need to seek treatment as soon after the bite as possible.

What Kind Of Damage Can A Moray Eel Bite Do?

If the moray eel bites, it can do a lot of damage. In the wild, these attacks are designed to leave prey dead or severely wounded. The teeth can bite into the human hand or finger, causing substantial injury. As we mentioned some people have lost fingers to the bite of the moray eel.

The amount of force that the eel strikes with can determine the amount of damage you receive. If you’re lucky, you’ll be left with a small mark on the hand. However, in most cases, you will have a serious wound. Because of this, you should make sure to seek medical treatment as quickly as possible.

How Are Moray Eel Bites Treated?

In most cases, the doctor will be able to solve the problem by applying a dressing to the wound, patching you up and sending you home. After a few days or weeks, you should have made a full recovery. However, if the eel bites your finger or thumb, it can be a long recovery process.


Though in most circumstances, the moray eel will be a calm, sedentary animal, they have been known to attack. If you have been the victim of a moray eel bite, you need to seek medical attention as quickly as possible.

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