Swamp Eel
Monopterus albus

Swamp Eel is imported live into Canada as part of the live food trade or aquarium trade.

Report a discovery in an unlisted area

If you think you’ve seen or caught a Swamp Eel:

  • Do not release it into the water.
  • Catch it and keep it frozen. If you can’t do that, destroy it.
  • Note the location (with GPS coordinates if possible) as well as the observation date.
  • Contact Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Identifying features

Swamp Eel is an elongated snake-like fish that ranges in colour from olive to brown and occasionally light orange on the bottom. It has rows of small teeth and small dark eyes. It has a single V-shaped gill opening on the underside of the body, just below the head.

Where it has been found

This species has not yet been discovered in Canada’s freshwater ecosystems.


Swamp Eels are capable of living out of water for a considerable length of time. Established populations in the United States have shown a surprising degree of cold water tolerance, as evidenced by them surviving air temperatures below freezing and when ice covers their pond habitat.

Potential ecological and economic impacts

The Swamp Eel has a voracious appetite for fish, but it also consumes crayfish, turtles, frogs and wading birds. This AIS may alter the habitat beneath ponds and marshy regions, where it burrows in nests.


Native to tropical and temperate parts of eastern and southern Asia

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