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Hawaiian Monk Seals Found With Eels in Their Noses

Hawaiian monk seal
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Seals are snorting eels now? Here's what's happening to juvenile Hawaiian monk seals.

Researchers have been finding endangered monk seals in a strange predicament: stuffed up to their nostrils with eels.

The NOAA Fisheries official website said, "In the nearly 40 years that we have been working to monitor and protect endangered Hawaiian monk seals, we have only started seeing "eels in noses" in the last few years."

Since the endangered Hawaiian monk seals--particularly juvenile seals--forage by forcing their mouths and noses into the crevasses of coral reefs, around rocks, or into the bottom sand, it stands to reason that their escaping prey would try any route to make their getaway, including through the nose of a seal.

Researchers that found this interesting and alternately weird "slippery situation" have also taken the time to free the seals of their stuffed noses and release them unharmed.

The odd phenomenon, which was first recorded in 2016, has since been seen multiple times, but it's not just yet a common occurrence. It's even possible that the seals swallowed the eels then regurgitated them through their noses.

While there is the possibility of the seals getting an infection from their prey, it is unlikely that seals-with-eels will suddenly become common. According to the researchers the eels "did not make it" leading only to the conclusion that we may never know how they get stuck in the noses of the seals.

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Hawaiian Monk Seals Found With Eels in Their Noses