The Green Eel Lives in the Shallow Water of the Western Atlantic
Also called green cong, green conger, green congo, green eel and olive-green eel, the green moray eel is named for its dark green to brown color. However, its thick, scaleless skin is uniformly dark. The greenish tint is produced by a yellow mucus the eel secretes as protection from disease and parasites.
Green moray eels average 6 feet in length and 30 pounds, although individual eels have been known to grow as large as 8 feet and 65 pounds. Typically found on coral reefs, rocky shorelines and in mangroves in water less than 100 feet deep, the eels enjoy a wide range of habitat. They live in waters along the western Atlantic from New Jersey, through the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, and south to Brazil. They are also found in the waters around the remote Ascension Island in the eastern Atlantic.
A nocturnal hunter, the green moray has poor eyesight, hunting - fish, squid, crabs, shrimp and occasionally other eels - primarily by smell. During the day, it hides in rocky crevices, with only its head emerging from the opening. Whether or not it is feeding, its mouth is constantly opening and closing, forcing water through its gills for oxygen.
Green moray bites are rare, but dangerous. Most bites occur when divers, snorkelers and swimmers indiscriminately thrust their feet or hands into crevices on coral reefs or try to feed the eels by hand.