Science

Endangered monk seal spotted with eel stuck up its nose

Endangered monk seal spotted with eel stuck up its nose

The Hawaiian monk seal has become endangered due to a range of threats, from fishing net entanglements to disease.

Researchers first spotted a seal with an eel nasal appendage in the summer of 2016, emailing colleagues who initially thought it was a joke.

"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 Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program captioned the freaky photo this week. In all cases the seals were fine.

But researchers are still baffled as to why and how this happens.

"We don't know if this is just some unusual statistical anomaly or something we will see more of in the future", the NOAA wrote.




But according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this phenomenon has happened several times before. "We don't know if this is just some odd statistical anomaly or if we will see more eels in seals in the future", NOAA said. Have you ever seen a face that said "guess this is my life now lol" more than that stupid seal's stupid face? This whole situation could just be a "weird anomaly" or a "crazy statistical quirk, and we may never see it again", he added. Alternatively, the seal could have swallowed the eel and regurgitated it so that the eel came out the wrong way.

Fortunately, no harm to the seals was observed. But the eel may have gotten deeper into the nose, preventing the seal from removing the invader. And while nobody knows for sure why seals keep getting eels stuck up their noses, experts do have two theories: "Monk seals feed by sticking their noses in coral reefs and digging in sand so it is possible the eel was defending itself or trying to escape and forced itself into the nose. The eels, however, did not make it".

The team has so far successfully extracted the eels from all the seals found in this predicament, with the seals being released back into the wild.

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. And reader - for the love of god - if you are eating, please stop reading now.