WAIKIKI, HI (WJZ) -- It's the kind of vacation memory no one wants, but it's what Kristen Porter experienced while vacationing in Hawaii. Porter, who lives in Annapolis, was floating in shallow water off Waikiki when out of nowhere she was attacked.
"My feet were dangling down and I was there for hours, really, so I was completely surprised when all of a sudden something attacked my foot," Porter said. "I knew immediately that it was something bad, it wasn't just a little fish nibble. And so I pulled my foot in the air and saw it was bleeding all over the place."
The bite marks confirmed Porter had been attacked by a moray eel, a species found most often in underwater rocks, not the shallow sandy bottom of Waikiki.
"I don't think there are any big rocky areas around there, so it's very unusual and very mysterious," said Andrew Rossiter with the Waikiki Aquarium.
What isn't a mystery is the eel's size. Based on the bite marks, it was at least five feet long. But it could have been worse, as moray eels grow to 10 feet. As ambush predators, they attack very quickly.
"They attack like that!" Rossiter said. "Incredibly rapid so any scuba diver will tell you if you see an eel in the reef just stay away."
The attack was very rare, and Porter is counting on that.
"I do love it here, and statistically there's no way I can be bitten twice. The odds are in my favor," she said.
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