It's the question on everyone's lips at the moment - just why do seals keep getting eels stuck up their noses?
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", the agency said.
"Hawaiian monk seals forage by shoving their mouth and nose into the crevasses of coral reefs, under rocks, or into the sand". So, they go for the food, like eels, whose strategy is to hide.
Fortunately, no harm to the seals was observed.
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. "This may be a case of an eel that was cornered trying to defend itself or escape", says NOAA.
What's even stranger is that the seal program has seen this happen before, first noting the phenomenon a few years ago and citing multiple cases of juvenile seals with nostril eels since then.
If that had been the case with this seal, the animal probably could have gotten rid of the eel on its own by shaking its head around.
The vet tried to remove the eel with "quick handling" because breathing problems would be exacerbated if the seal tried to swim or dive.
A monk seal in Hawaii was photographed with an eel stuck up its nose - and you're going to be obsessed with it. "The eels, however, did not make it", writes marine biologist Brittany Dolan in the Facebook post. But recent years have shown "encouraging developments", according to NOAA Fisheries.
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