A large eel had to be moved to safety after finding its way onto a busy Hamilton highway.

The NZ Transport Agency said the fish - an endangered longfin eel - was found on the Hamilton section of the Waikato Expressway.

A photo posted to the NZTA Waikato-Bay of Plenty Twitter page shows the large creature in a big container.

The caption starts off with: "Surprize catch of the day!''

Advertisement

A person can be seen reaching in to pick up the eel - which is about the same size as the person's arms.

The circumstances of the incident are not yet known.

The New Zealand longfin eel is the largest freshwater eel species in the country.

The female species are said to be much larger than their male counterparts and can grow to 73 to 156cm and a length of 115cm.