Hawaiian Monk Seal Gets Eel Stuck Up Its Nose

An eel somehow got stuck in a monk seal’s nose. It’s rare but it happens

An eel somehow got stuck in a monk seal’s nose. It’s rare but it happens

A photo shared by the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program has revealed the hilariously unfortunate predicament of a juvenile seal with a spotted eel lodged in its nostril. Honestly, despite not being a seal and not having an eel now lodged up my schnozz, I can truly empathise.

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. 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.

"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.

It's sad to hear that the eels didn't survive after being removed from the seal's nose, but considering they chose to enter the seal's nose without permission, they're really the architects of their own demise here.

Apparently, eels getting stuck in seals noses happens occasionally, but no one is certain as to why.

"If I had to guess, I would say that it's one of those strange oddities", Littnan said. "We might never know".

As to how the eel gets stuck, Littnan has several ideas.

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One theory is that, because seals forage for food by shoving their noses into rock pools and coral reefs, eels they encounter could try and defend themselves by plunging into the seals' noses. Have you ever seen a face that said "guess this is my life now lol" more than that stupid seal's stupid face?

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

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

The program reported another eel-in-nose incident on Facebook in 2016. "The eels, however, did not make it".

In an elaborated post on the NOAA Fisheries website, the experts say seals with an eel jammed up their nose have been seen three of four times over the last 40 years.

The picture, which shows the seal looking surprisingly chill, has everyone amused.

There are only an estimated 632 mature Hawaiian monk seals left in the wild, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

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