Hawaiian Monk Seals Face New Threat: Getting Eels Stuck Up Their Noses

Hawaiian Monk Seal with Eel in Nose

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

In what is truly a weird phenomenon reportedly stumping researchers, a handful of not-so-smart Hawaiian monk seals have recently been observed with eels stuck up their noses - possibly from shoving their faces into crevices, but researchers tasked with observing these fools can't say for sure. "It might not have been a good one for you but it had to have been better than an eel in your nose". "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 agency said. Also, seals' nostrils close automatically when the animals go under water, and having an eel in there could have hindered that process, closing off an all-around great day for the seal with some water up the nose. They are looking for prey that likes to hide, like eels.

"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.

But according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this phenomenon has happened several times before. "The eels, however, did not make it".

Researchers recorded a record number of seal pups born on the main Hawaiian islands this year.

Hawaiian monk seals are among the most endangered seals on the planet, with only about 1,400 of them living in Hawaii.

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So far this year, the experts say 30 pups have been born in the region.

Other problems the eels could cause the seals are infectious diseases or hampering their ability to feed on fish and other sea creatures.

'By not specifying pup locations in our social media posts, we can help keep disturbance to a minimum, ' NOAA revealed in a recent update.

Do you mind? A juvenile Hawaiian Monk Seal with an eel up its nose.

In this case, a relatively small part of the eel is in the nose, which "leads me to thinking that the eel forced itself in while trying to escape", Littnan said. Alternatively, the seal could have swallowed the eel and regurgitated it so that the eel came out the wrong way.

But, the researchers note, 'we might not ever know'.

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