How To Find A Wolf Eel?

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In my opinion the wolf eel is one of the most wonderful creatures in our waters. They are so ugly that they are cute, and resemble the grumpy old men from The Muppets. There are many misconceptions about them, making a lot of divers fear them for no reason. I hope this article will educate you a bit more about these creatures and help you enjoy them a bit more.

What are they?

An commen misconception is that wolf eels are eels. The wolf eel (Anarrhichthys ocellatus) is a species of wolf fish (Anarhichadidae) from the North Pacific. They are not aggressive like the moray eels, and live in rocky burrows and are often you see peeking out of a whole in the rocks.

Do they mate for life?

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Wolf Eels often do, and they make cute couples. If you find one peeking out  of a whole you are very likely to find another one in the whole. You can tell the difference between a male and a female by their colours. The females are brown in colour and the males are grey in colour.

How to find them?

Look for rocky areas with boulders that allow small caves to form. If you see lots of crabs and sea urchins near a rocky area you are likely to find one of their burrows. Wolf eels are messy eaters, and you can find a trail of shells and urchin body parts along the sand. When you see a debris field of crab and sea urchin remains start looking above this field for small burrows. Most likely  you will see one of them peeking out. Approach slowly and do not point your light directly at them.

Wolf eels are curious creatures and they will come out if they think a free meal is available (please don’t feed them). If you are patient you sometimes get lucky and they will swim around you. Just stay calm they are not dangerous, but that does not mean you can pet them like your cat or dog. Sadly because of its friendly nature the Wolf Eel people think it is ok to touch them and also make a good target for spear fishermen.  

In closing

Enjoy this amazing creature with your eyes, or camera. Don’t feed them as they are easily tamed. Give them space and don’t crowed them to much when diving in a group. When you find them in non-marine protected areas keep it among yourself as their meet is sought after in certain circles.