Saturday, January 01, 2011

An eel hunts

snake eel

One more memory from St.Lucia. While snorkeling off the Anse Chastanet beach, I noticed about 10 feet below me a snake eel with his head in a hole in a coral rock, and his body whipping slowly back and forth in the open.

I watched him for a while. Occasionally, a little cloud of sand would come from one side of the hole -- as if he were smoking. He would take his head out of the hole and shake it a bit. His head was a very odd shape, pretty snaky. I realized that he was pulling some type of food out of the hole, but I could never see what it was.

Eventually, my quarry moved through another hole in the big coral formation. I saw his head go in, leaving just his tail outside the hole, and then saw his head come out of a hole on the other side of the coral. He hunted in another crevasse for a while, the same way, sometimes catching a critter which he pulled out of the hole. Eventually he snaked away.

Len took the above photo on a dive at another reef, deeper; but it's the same species of eel. I could see his spots clearly, though the one I watched didn't seem as vividly colored. His spots were closer to white rather than yellow.

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