The world’s oceans are a massive stretch of area, the majority of the planet’s surface, and host the vast majority of its diverse life forms throughout the global aquatic biomes.

There are more kinds of fish in the sea than there are animals on land, some theorize.

Some of these species have yet to be fully documented and discovered because of how difficult it is to sustain human life underwater long enough to get records.

There is no shortage of fascinating creatures to learn about just under the surface of the water.

One of these broad categories of animals is eels. Eels are some of the oldest classifiable lifeforms on the planet.

They’ve been around, in some way, since before the dinosaurs, thanks to their deceptively simple but highly effective body structure.

Many kids can come to mind when people think of eels, from the giant Moray to the mouthy Lamprey.

This article will focus on the snub-nosed, thick-jawed, and potential massive Wolf Eels.





Wikimedia Commons


10 /10 Underwater Wolf

The Wolf Eel is named due to a variety of its habits and primarily for its powerful jaw. Many other eel species have unique biological tools to help them catch prey, such as toxic bites or electric zaps.

The Wolf Eel is technically not an eel at all, but a Wolffish, categorized by their powerful biting jaws lined with sharp, tearing teeth they use to crack shells and penetrate their prey’s protection.

However, as the most eel-shaped of the Order, it has been nicknamed an eel.

Monterey Bay Aquarium


9 /10 Pacific Range






The Wolf Eel is mainly found along the Pacific Coast of North America, going as far down as California and as high up as Alaska.

There have even been sightings of wolffish as far west as Japan and as far north as the shallows of the underwater land bridge between Alaska and Russia’s farthest eastern coast.

They, like eels, occupy shallow waters that are plentiful in rocky terrain.






8 /10 Doctorfish

Wolf Eels are edible and have been eaten primarily by Native American tribes along the coastal northwest.

They believed the Wolf Fish had healing properties, possibly due to its size, and called it the “doctorfish.”

Tribal healers would eat the cooked flesh, which has a similar taste and consistency to trout. Wolffish is not illegal to fish for food, but they are hard to catch due to their nature.

Wikimedia Commons

7 /10 Lone Wolfs

As their wolf name suggests, they adapt to the lone wolf approach rather than hunting in packs, rarely being seen together outside of cohabitation and mating.

Wolffish hunt alone by swimming slowly through the water and using their powerful jaws to crush and munch on the prey they wander upon.

Their diet includes invertebrates – shell or no shell – and some fish primarily. While they can chew through hard surfaces, they seem to prefer softer foods like squid to protect their teeth.

6 /10 Man's Best Underwater Friend

Somewhat fitting to their name is their unique behavior around humans.

Wolf Eels are naturally reclusive, sticking to caves and rock formations that are hard to get through but have been known to explore and engage in curiosity.

Around humans, they are mostly calm. They don’t get aggressive unless provoked since they do not prey upon that often.

Some wolf eels have even been tamed by divers, just like the wild wolves of old were domesticated and became dogs.

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5 /10 Alpha Fish

Wolf eels are not at the top of the food chain, but they are close. They stick to areas where their natural predators don’t bother most of the time but are known to fall to the most common idiom among sea life: there’s always a bigger fish.

Some of those fish are sharks, which eat anything, and some are harbor seals which can be powerful adversaries for much marine life.

As eggs and juveniles, they are much more vulnerable to predation.

4 /10 Mama Wolf

The mating and habitation behaviors of wolf eels are somewhat unique. Wolf eels mate for life, form a bond, and cohabitate in a “den” where they start their family.

The female lays a clutch of many eggs, and once fertilized, she wraps herself around them into a ball.

The male then wraps around her, forming a second layer, and they share protective duties leaving only to feed or bring back food.

The eggs incubate for up to 112 days while the parents swim around them to ensure enough oxygen is supplied through moving water.

3 /10 Bark And Bite

The wolf fish’s main defensive trait is its appearance. It has a face similar to, well, a wolf.

Instead of a snout and fur, it has a protruding jaw with frontal canines that it can easily display, large eyes, and deep features to help ward off predators on sight. For us, it’s like a cross between a scaly wolf and a slimy pug.

2 /10 Big Dogs Of The Reef

Wolf Eels can grow up to 8 feet long. Their heads can become about the same size as human heads.

Their long, trailing bodies only have one dorsal fin and two small fins up front, which don’t gain much pursuit speed. It’s all about size and raw strength for these beastly fish.

Smaller wolf eels will move away if bigger ones enter their vicinity. Only the most giant wolves get the finest dens to live in. Wolf eels can live up to 25 years.

1 /10 More Wolf Than Eel

Despite not being a true eel, it still shares a critical factor with eels: its slime.

Wolffish is coated with a viscous mud that acts as an external filter or immune system and a slight defensive layer against assailant fish and other aquatic creatures.

Even though they aren’t eels like the Moray, they are easily one of the strongest slithering, coiling, and tube-shaped creatures in the sea. 

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