Moray eels are not an animal that you would think would be warm and affectionate. But that’s what famed Australian diver and ocean conservationist, Valerie Taylor, discovered when she tried to befriend a spotted moray eel.
She first located the home of a spotted moray eel near Banda Island, Indonesia. It wasn’t friendship at first sight, however. The eel instinctively hid after seeing the human approach. However, Taylor was persistent and tried a few more times over the course of several years, but to no avail.
One day, the eel came out and slithered around Taylor, accepting her offering. It didn’t just come to receive the treat, it also swam around her and let Taylor pet it. Ever since, the six-foot long, brown-spotted eel, which Taylor named “Honey”, seemed to recognize and approach her, and Taylor believes that it enjoy being held and scratched.
Taylor managed to befriend this spotted creature and when the eel sees Taylor coming, even after years, the eel comes out across the sand and swims over to her. One time “Honey” still remembered her even after 3 years!
The eel grew less shy as it became accustomed to Taylor. They also tend to be curious animals, and like to “check things out,” which is what appears to be happening in this video.
Although eels aren’t generally aggressive unless their territory is invaded, feeding eels like Taylor has done is not a good idea for any novice or even experienced diver. That’s because moray eels have razor-sharp teeth, not the best eyesight and a second set of jaws. In any event, Honey seems an unusually curious and friendly eel. You can watch her interesting interactions with Taylor in the video below.