Published: Fri, December 07, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

Hawaiian monk seal has eel removed from its nose

Hawaiian monk seal has eel removed from its nose

A Hawaiian monk seal with an eel coming out of its nose? "It might not have been a good one for you but it had to have been better than an eel in your nose".

Yes, that's an eel in a seal.

It's the question on everyone's lips at the moment - just why do seals keep getting eels stuck up their noses?

Baffled researchers have no idea how the seal (or the eel) found itself in this 'slippery situation, ' though they suspect it has something to do with the way the mammals hunt.

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

"We've been intensively monitoring monk seals for four decades and in all of that time nothing like this has happened", said Charles Littnan, the lead scientist at Noaa's Hawaiian monk seal research program, to the Guardian.

'We don't know if this is just some unusual statistical anomaly or something we will see more of in the future, ' the NOAA post notes. "We might never know".

However, the agency says it has managed to save up to 30 percent of the monk seals in the current population, cutting the rate of population decline by half.

"Alternatively, the seal could have swallowed the eel and regurgitated it so that the eel came out the wrong way", NOAA said.

Fortunately, all the be-eeled seals they've spotted have been successfully de-eeled.

The program reported another eel-in-nose incident on Facebook in 2016. Since Hawaiian monk seals forage for food by shoving their face into the tight space around coral reefs, it is possible that the occasionally cornered eel could mistake a seal's nostril for an escape route. The seals were all fine, but the eels did not make it, according to the scientists' post.

There are around 1,400 Hawaiian monk seals left in the world, and they are all found in the Hawaiian islands.

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. "All the seals were released and haven't shown any issues from the incidents", NOAA adds. And reader - for the love of god - if you are eating, please stop reading now.

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