Hawaiian Monk Seal Gets Eel Stuck Up Its Nose

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"We don't know if this is just some unusual statistical anomaly or something we will see more of in the future". "In nearly 40 years of monitoring, we have actually never observed this until a few years ago", Littnan said. It has since happened enough times for the monk seal program to develop guidelines on how to remove the eels.

Monk seals nose around in coral reefs, root around in the sand, and flip over 50-lb.

They've told the media they really have no idea what's causing the spike in eel-related incidents.

"Mondays...it might not have been a good one for you, but it had to have been better than an eel in your nose", the agency said in a Facebook post. 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. "This may be a case of an eel that was cornered trying to defend itself or escape", says NOAA.

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"We have now found juvenile seals with eels stuck in their noses on multiple occasions", the organisation wrote.

One theory is that seals, which often regurgitate their meals, are simply throwing up eels through their noses.

The removal process took less than a minute and while the seal was uninjured, the eel wasn't so lucky.

Which begs the question: are the seals shoving eels up there like... recreationally? Honestly, despite not being a seal and not having an eel now lodged up my schnozz, I can truly empathise.

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"All of the seals that we have encountered in this slippery situation have been quickly caught by our response teams and the eel gently and successfully removed". The seals were all fine, but the eels did not make it, according to the scientists' post.

Officials estimate only about 1,400 Hawaiian monk seals remain in the wild, most of which are found near the northwestern Hawaiian Islands. But recent years have shown "encouraging developments", according to NOAA Fisheries.

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.

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