Hawaiian monk seal has eel removed from its nose

Hawaiian Monk Seal with Eel in Nose

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program reported on a squicky find this week when it shared a Facebook photo of a seal with a spotted eel dangling from its nose.

The phenomena could cause potential problems for the seals in terms of infections or even by affecting their ability to dive and feed on marine creatures. 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.

After spotting the freakish pairing at French Frigate Shoals in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands this past summer, researchers quickly acted to relieve the seal of its discomfort. Except ... is that an eel coming out of his nose?!

Thankfully, the researchers have been able to extract all of the eels they have spotted, but they are still baffled as to why it is happening. "They are looking for prey that likes to hide, like eels,".

According to the team with the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program, the odd phenomenon has been seen a handful of times in the past - each with the same outcome.




'Hawaiian monk seals forage by shoving their mouth and nose into the crevasses of coral reefs, under rocks, or into the sand, ' the NOAA team explains.

One theory is that seals, which often regurgitate their meals, are simply throwing up eels through their noses. "All the seals were released and haven't shown any issues from the incidents", NOAA adds. "One of them was really far in so it was like a magician's handkerchief trick, we just had to keep pulling and pulling".

According to the NOAA Fisheries, researchers recorded a record number of pups born to the endangered Hawaiian monk seals on the main Hawaiian islands in 2018. It is the only seal native to Hawaii and one of only two mammals endemic to the islands. "You know what they say". Have you ever seen a face that said "guess this is my life now lol" more than that stupid seal's stupid face?

The agency works with individual seals in order to save them, focusing on young and reproductive females.

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