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Wolf eel

The eel that’s not an eel

Wolf eels aren’t eels at all—they’re fish, and not the same as true eels. One key distinction is that wolf eels have pectoral fins behind their heads, which is characteristic of fish, not marine eels like morays. Put simply, they’re a just a long, skinny fish!

At the Aquarium

An interesting outer layer

Wolf eels have a thick coating of slime on their skin that helps protect them, which works like an immune system. Their scales are unlike those of most other fish: they’re very small and imbedded in their skin, which gives wolf eels their distinctive leathery appearance. They also appear to get itchy sometimes and can be seen swimming upside down, rubbing their backs on rocks to scratch!

How to help wolf eels

Although wolf eel populations appear to be stable, they do face threats—many of them human-caused, such as pollution or being accidentally caught in fishing gear. You can help protect wolf eels by doing your part to take care of Puget Sound and the world’s one big ocean.

Quick Facts

Wolf eels are not actually eels—they are just a long, skinny fish.

Quick Facts

As these fish age, their bright colors fade to shades of gray and brown.

Quick Facts

They’re shy! Wolf eels spend most of their time in dens, crevices and caves in the reefs.

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An adult sea otter at the Seattle Aquarium looking upwards with its front paws resting on its front.

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Sea otter at the Seattle Aquarium laying on its back, raising its head and front paws.

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