The Napoleon Snake Eel (Ophichthus bonaparti) is typical of the ambush predators that patiently lie in wait for their dinner. Have you ever stopped to consider what may be lurking in the sand beneath you? A variety of worms, eels and cephalods will hide out during the day waiting for the cover of darkness and what seems like featureless sand is transformed when you catch the twitch of an eyeball or a fin. It’s rather like staring at an optical illusion and waiting for your brain to catch up with your eyes!
As you can see in the picture above, typical snake eels have pointed heads and tails which helps them to burrow into the sand. The Napolean Snake Eel is easily distinguished by the spotted marking on its head, often the only part you will see, and is famous as the only eel to hold the title of Emperor of France. Although this eel’s military leadership and statesmanship are still studied today, it prefers to bury its head in the sand. Along with its pointed shape, its lack of fins also help it to burrow giving it a snake-like resemblance. This resemblance is continued with a striped body that mimics the markings of some venomous snakes thus deterring predators.
Although we occasionally see this eel during the day, it is far more likely to be found at night. It is usually found with just its head poking out of the sand waiting to feed on small crustaceans and fish. It is sometimes seen out of its burrow and swimming which is impressive since it can reach 75cm long!
With so many weird and wonderful sights, night diving continues to be popular here and we’ve been night diving almost every night! Everything changes at night and with visibility reduced to your circle of torchlight it’s a great way to watch some awesome predatory action from our Bobbit worms, squid, octopus and snake eels.
Would you like to experience the weird and wonderful underwater world of the Lembeh Strait? For more information about staying and diving with us at Two Fish Divers Lembeh Resort, fill in the form below and we will get right back to you.