A Maryland woman was probably bitten by a moray eel off the coast of Hawaii on July 29, 2018.
Kristen Porter was relaxing on a floatie on Kuhio Beach in Waikiki, Hawaii last week, when she felt something sharp pierce her foot. Wincing in pain, Porter pulled her foot out of the water and saw a terrifying sight.
“I knew immediately that it was something bad, and it wasn’t just like a fish in the chew, so I pulled my foot in the air and there was blood everywhere,” Porter, Annapolis, Maryland, told KHON-TV on Thursday.
With the help of her son and fellow beachgoers, Porter hobbled to the shore to investigate the mysterious wound. Once on land, a lifeguard observed several cuts on her foot, telling her of the marks appeared to be consistent with an eel bite.
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Porter initially thought it was a shark attack, but the International Shark File in Florida confirmed to KHON-TV days after the Sunday incident that was not the case.
The Waikiki Aquarium director Andrew Rossiter, who examined pictures of the injury, told KHON-TV he also believes that it was an eel bite, but they are very rare, especially on Kuhio Beach, which is not particularly rocky.
Rossiter, in particular, the likely culprit was a moray eel, a snake-like fish that can reach up to 13 metres in length. Some moray eels can weigh more than the man, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is described in a blog post.
Some digging under the sand, while others hide under the rocks. They have sharp, long teeth, a second set alllows them to more easily break their prey, which they usually swallow whole.
“(They are) incredibly fast and even a scuba diver will tell you to stay away from them in the water, because they can come up and ping you in the blink of an eye,” Rossiter told the news station.
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Eel bites are rare. The sea creatures tend to stick to themselves, but it is possible they would strike if they feel threatened, or someone invades their space. They’re also more active at night than during the swimming hours.
“[Hap] was definitely a case of mistaken identity, because the eel’s teeth to penetrate, so that they literally pierce their prey and swallow their pray whole, so I doubt the eel tried to swallow the lady whole,” Rossiter said.
Porter, 51, was later taken to a nearby urgent care, where her wound was cleaned and wrapped. A doctor recommended she go to the hospital for stitches, but she refused any further treatment, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
“So the mystery is solved. Turns out it is a 5-6 ft moray eel. If this does not give me [nightmares],” Porter wrote on Facebook early Friday.
Jennifer Earl is an SEO editor for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter @jenearlyspeakin.