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

Cesar Mills
December 7, 2018

The Hawaiian monk seal has become endangered due to a range of threats, from fishing net entanglements to disease.

Monk seals nose around in coral reefs, root around in the sand, and flip over 50-lb. "It might not have been a good one for you but it had to have been better than an eel in your nose".

The removal process took less than a minute and while the seal was uninjured, the eel wasn't so lucky.

The photo of the Hawaiian Seal was with the tail end of the creature hanging from its nostril was released by the Hawaiin Monk Seal Research Program (HMSRP).

"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".

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.

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"We don't know if this is just some odd statistical anomaly or something we will see more of in the future", the NOAA wrote.

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

'We don't know if this is just some unusual statistical anomaly or something we will see more of in the future, ' the NOAA post notes. "We don't know if this is just some odd statistical anomaly or something we will see more of in the future".

Or, just like in the YouTube videos where people sneeze and spit up long strands of pasta through their noses, the seal could have regurgitated an eel that it ate, with the eel coming out the wrong pipe, Littnan said.

Monk seals are endangered. Since this phenomenon has been observed only in juvenile seals, Littnan said it could also just be that the seals are inexperienced at hunting. Now the beleaguered species is facing an unexpected new challenge - eels getting stuck up their noses. "The eels, however, did not make it". Over the course of several posts, researchers with the program wrote they noticed a male seal with an eel stuck in its face and making a "wheezing sound with every breath".

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. Never stop doing what you love: huffing eels.

Other reports by GizPress

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