Why have seals been getting eels stuck up their noses?

Image NOAA FISHERIES  BRITTANY DOLAN

Image NOAA FISHERIES BRITTANY DOLAN

You might think the life of a Hawaiian monk seal would be pretty easy.

Do you mind? A juvenile Hawaiian Monk Seal with an eel up its nose. In some other cases, the researchers have seen, in which around 2 feet (0.6 meters) of the eel was stuck the seal's nose, the seals must have regurgitated the prey, Littnan said. Honestly, despite not being a seal and not having an eel now lodged up my schnozz, I can truly empathise.

A picture of a monk seal with an eel up its nose was shared this week by a Hawaii-based division of the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa).

Apparently the seals were fine but the eels didn't make it, unfortunately.

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", said the post.

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"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.

Monk seal researcher Charles Littnan, division director of the protected species division, said this is the third or fourth case scientists have observed of a seal with an eel in its nose. This whole situation could just be a "weird anomaly" or a "crazy statistical quirk, and we may never see it again", he added.

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.

Fortunately, no harm to the seals was observed. Maybe the eels secrete some kind of aquatic nose-beer analogy. 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 uncomfortable sight on the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program Facebook page has received over 1,000 shares, and left many wondering what is going on.

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.

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