snake eel (#55A, added 12 Jan '98)
If you're ever lucky enough to actually see a snake eel, this is probably all you'll see (a head). This photo, along with the other three other snake eel photos were taken at a place we called the "eel grass", a shallow area about 23 feet deep located at Batangas, Luzon island, Philippines. The spot was named for the characteristic vegetation and sand. All the times I ever saw snake eels were at night; they are reclusive creatures and difficult to find.

This particular eel, along with snake eel #3 below, may be a special type of snake eel called a "crocodile snake eel".

Snake eels number nearly 200 species worldwide. They are different from their moray cousins in both form and behavior. Instead of a flat tail for swimming, their tails are hard and pointed, used for burrowing into the sand, as shown here. Their entire body is hidden except for the head, while they lie in wait for prey. They also seem to generally be smaller than morays (maybe 2 feet long, judging by the ones I have seen). Their bellows-type jaw movement keeps water circulating over the gills, with the exhaled water emerging from new-moon shaped gill slits, the same as moray eels. This breathing may be less conspicuous because they use less oxygen at rest.


short clip of snake eel breathing heavily (credit: Tineke S.)

page with clips of snake eels from

unknown, or possibly Brachysomophis sp (?)

snake eel #2 (#56A, added 12 Jan '98)
snake eel #2

snake eel #3 (#57A, added 12 Jan '98)
snake eel #3

snake eel #4 (#58A, added 12 Jan '98)
snake eel #4

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