Hawaiian monk seal has eel removed from its nose

A juvenile Hawaiian monk seal was found with a spotted eel in its nose at French Frigate Shoals in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

Earlier this week, officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program shared a photo showing a juvenile Hawaiian monk seal with a long eel stuck in its nostril.

Once revealed the seal was in good health, social media users couldn't help but poke a little fun at the "rebel" sea creature. "In all cases the eel was successfully removed and the seals were fine".

After spotting the freakish pairing at French Frigate Shoals in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands this past summer, researchers quickly acted to relieve the seal of its discomfort.

The vet tried to remove the eel with "quick handling" because breathing problems would be exacerbated if the seal tried to swim or dive.

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

Hawaiian monk seal has eel removed from its nose

The administration said it has seen the same "eels in noses" phenomenon almost a handful of times in the last few years.

"They get stuck in there really snug, so you have to restrain the seal and give the eel a firm tug to get it out", said Littnan. Since this phenomenon has been observed only in juvenile seals, Littnan said it could also just be that the seals are inexperienced at hunting. Another is that startled eels get stuck there while attempting to flee the seals as the predators forage for food beneath rocks.

"It was nearly like those magician trick scarves that they just keep pulling out of the hat", the post added. Or the seal could have swallowed the eel first and regurgitated its prey out the wrong way. "All the seals were released and haven't shown any issues from the incidents".

The eels are just the latest threat faced by the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, which is regarded as highly at risk by Noaa. It is the only seal native to Hawaii and one of only two mammals endemic to the islands. Have you ever seen a face that said "guess this is my life now lol" more than that stupid seal's stupid face? "We might never know".

The agency works with individual seals in order to save them, focusing on young and reproductive females.

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