Hawaiian monk seals keep getting eels stuck in their noses

Why though remains a total mystery.


NSFW    Aww! Animals!

HAWAII — An endangered Hawaiian monk seal was spotted chilling on a sandy white beach with a spotted eel stuck in its nose—and researchers have no idea how it got there.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program posted the photo on Facebook last week.
According to the Washington Post, the shot was taken this year in the northwestern Hawaiian islands, but scientists are baffled as to why.

According to the NOAA, they've only seen this happen a few times since 2016. All the little fellows were caught and released after the eels were removed.
Researchers have only come up with two guesses as to why this happens.
Hawaiian monk seals look for food by jamming their mouth and nose into cracks of coral reefs, under rocks or into the sand. Maybe the eel had nowhere else to go.
Another hypothesis is that the seal, which often throws up food, was vomiting when the eel came out the wrong hole—yummy.

While researchers continue scratching their heads, the endangered Hawaiian monk seals can rest easy, because the NOAA now has guidelines for yanking eels out safely.
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