Seasnake vs. Moray Eel…not what I was expecting

In the below video a seasnake catches a moray eel at Giant Clam, Puerto Galera, Mindoro, Philippines.  I believe the eel is a fimbriated moray, Gymnothorax fimbriatus which can reach lengths of of about 2.5 feet and apparently can make a fetching design for a dress. The sea snake appears to be the banded sea krait, Laticauda colubrina. Females can reach lengths of 4.5 feet.

Wait for the M. Night Shyamalan twist ending.

Dr. M (1729 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, a National Science Foundation supported initiative. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (, a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web. His forthcoming book, Science of the South (, connects cultural icons of South such as pecan pie with the science behind them.

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14 comments on “Seasnake vs. Moray Eel…not what I was expecting
  1. I wrote a paper in Journal of Fish Biology on Moray Eels when I researched them in New Zealand. Love eels especially moray eels. I used to knock them out with clove oil and then put acoustic tags inside of them. I always used to think of hte parralels between alien abductions and what I was doing because I literally woudl be a bright shining love coming from above, taking them to a ship, knocking them out, putting things up there anus (acoustic tag), and then freeing them again to observe them.

    Anyway I digress. They were tough as old boots and it’s no suprise to me that the moray made a comeback. I read a paper during the time that there were many moray eel species that would consume snakes and what they would do is get bitten by them to build up resistance to the poisen. I almost wonder if that was what the eel was doing?

  2. I think the snake gave up partly because that was entirely too large of a meal for him. He was right to regurge, that meal was waaay too big, not to mention his venom wasn’t having much of an effect. Kudos to the Moray on that, Krait venom is pretty potent. Not to mention, the Moray bite is nothing to screw around with and that meal was definitely still chomping back.

  3. I’m surprised the eel was so slow respording. What chance the snake would run out of O2 with a struggle like that? Those eels do have a good set of dentures as the snake discovered. SU comes to mind?

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  7. I wonder too if the moray’s skin is just too thick for the snakes fangs to get through to deliver a good dose. We’ll never know, but I guess the lesson here is “Never give up” :-)

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