Science

Hawaiian Monk Seal Caught With An Eel In Its Nose

Hawaiian Monk Seal Eel In Its Nose
Image credit: NOAA Fisheries/Brittany Dolan

Mother nature often surprises us with different sights, starting from those that are mesmerizing and unimaginable to the ones that are the least expected. Recently, researchers caught a Hawaiian Monk seal with an eel in its nose, and the sighting was quick to go viral on a Facebook post.

The Hawaiian Monk seal was spotted this past summer, while an eel was hanging out of its nose. The Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program, which is associated with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), was quick to share the photo on Facebook.

“Mondays…it might not have been a good one for you but it had to have been better than an eel in your nose,” the group wrote in a post followed by an image of the seal with an eel in its nose.

As the Hawaii News reports, the seal was spotted near the French Frigate Shoals during the summer, at the time when the field researchers were active in the area studying the seal population which inhabits the area.

As the researchers explained, when they saw this “rare” sighting, they decided to take the animal and remove the creature from its nose before it could cause damage. Fortunately for the animal, it took researchers less than a minute to free the lengthy eel.

There are several possibilities of how an eel could get stuck in a seal’s nose, but the one that makes the most sense is associated with the Hawaiian Monk seal feeding in the coral reefs, where the eels live. The researchers said that the animal sticks its nose into the reefs and digs in the sand to find the necessary prey. They also said that there’s a possibility the eel tried to defend itself or escape and in that way got stuck in the nose.

The group also suggests that “the seal regurgitated it and went out the wrong place,” although that wasn’t as probable, the group said as per the report. Although rare, this sighting is not the first, as the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program said that the phenomenon has happened in the past, noting it was “first noted a few years back,” the group said.

The picture triggered a lot of interesting comments on social media under the picture. Many were to joke that this happened because of eating Tide Pods or “snorting condoms,” or that playing video games too much was the culprit of this situation.

Nevertheless, it’s good that the seal was relieved of the eel in its nose, with Hawaiian monk seals being “one of the most endangered seal species in the world,” NOAA wrote. Organizations around the world have put out efforts to preserve the population and slow down the declining process, the “current numbers are only about one-third of historic population levels.”

They are interesting animals, nonetheless, being capable of holding its breath for about 20 minutes and diving down to almost 2,000 feet. As their name suggests, they live only around the Hawaiian archipelago, and can’t be found anywhere else in the world.