Hawaiian Monk Seal Gets Eel Stuck Up Its Nose

Hawaiian Monk Seal Eel In Its Nose

Hawaiian Monk Seal Eel In Its Nose

After spotting the weird pairing at French Frigate Shoals in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands this past summer, researchers quickly acted to relieve the seal of its discomfort.

"We have now found juvenile seals with eels stuck in their noses on multiple occasions", the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program wrote in a Facebook post on Monday. While the unfortunate, recently photographed seal was doing this, an eel could have, in a case of self-defense, "rammed itself into the nostril and maybe got stuck", Littnan said.

"When an eel lunges out and clamps on to your snout, That's a Moray", joked one commenter on Facebook".

"What is interesting that in the almost 40 years we have been monitoring and conserving we have only started seeing this in the last few years", he said in an e-mail.

They've told the media they really have no idea what's causing the spike in eel-related incidents. "We might never know".

It's believed the eel likely entered the monk seal when it was feeding in coral reefs, as they feed by sticking their noses into the sand and start digging around, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

Fortunately, all the be-eeled seals they've spotted have been successfully de-eeled. Except ... is that an eel coming out of his nose?! "The eels, however, did not make it". Also, seals' nostrils close automatically when the animals go under water, and having an eel in there could have hindered that process, closing off an all-around great day for the seal with some water up the nose.

The refreshing news comes as researchers work to protect the endangered species, which is one of just two species of monk seal still in existence.

Hawaiian monk seals are among the most endangered seals on the planet, with only about 1,400 of them living in Hawaii. "All the seals were released and haven't shown any issues from the incidents", NOAA adds. Another theory is that seals trying to regurgitate swallowed eels might accidentally send the slippery fish out the wrong hole.

'If you come across a Hawaiian monk seal mom and pup, please stay quiet and enjoy them from a distance, remaining behind any signs or barriers that might be present'.

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