Eels stuck in endangered monk seals’ noses turning into unusual trend

Terry Joseph
December 8, 2018

It's the question on everyone's lips at the moment - just why do seals keep getting eels stuck up their noses? This whole situation could just be a "weird anomaly" or a "crazy statistical quirk, and we may never see it again", he added.

Noaa has seen it happening enough times for them to release guidelines on how to remove the eels.

In a post to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries website on Wednesday, the agency said that it had observed such an incident "three or four times now" but that it is a relatively new occurrence.

Researchers aren't certain how eels end up in this tight spot, but they have a few ideas.

Monk seals are endangered.

A monk seal spotted with eel stuck up its nose in Hawaii.

Hawaiian monk seals forage by shoving their mouth and nose into the crevasses of coral reefs, under rocks, or into the sand, he said, in search of prey that like to hide, such as eels.

A Hawaiian monk seal with an eel coming out of its nose?

Hawaiian Monk Seal Gets Eel Stuck Up Its Nose

According to the team with the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program, the odd phenomenon has been seen a handful of times in the past - each with the same outcome.

'This may be a case of an eel that was cornered trying to defend itself or escape.

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

Human children are notorious for getting all sorts of unusual objects stuck up their noses - but, it seems young seals are now gunning for the crown, too.

Only about 1,400 Hawaiian monk seals remain in the wild, with the majority residing in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. "The eels, however, did not make it".

Alternatively, the stuck eel could be the result of the seal, which often throws up food, regurgitating its food the wrong way. But recent years have shown "encouraging developments", according to NOAA Fisheries.

The phenomena could cause potential problems for the seals in terms of infections or even by affecting their ability to dive and feed on marine creatures.

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