Seals Are Getting Eels Stuck Up Their Noses And No One Knows Why
Researchers have absolutely no idea what's gone on. None.
The Hawaiian monk seal is an endangered species, with only around 1,400 remaining in the world. Now the little guys are facing a whole new challenge -- eels getting stuck up their nose.
It's been happening for about two years and researchers are completely baffled by it.
“We’ve been intensively monitoring monk seals for four decades and in all of that time nothing like this has happened,” Charles Littnan, lead scientist of The Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program told the Guardian.
“Now it’s happened three or four times and we have no idea why.”
The very first seal to be spotted with an eel stuffed up its schnoz was in 2016. Researchers thought it was a joke... until it kept happening.
There are now fears the phenomena could cause the beleaguered species serious problems like infection or affecting their ability to dive.
Thankfully, on all cases, the eels have been removed from the seals, but the mystery as to why they are up there in the first place remains.
There are a couple of theories.
Firstly, because seals often regurgitate their meals, they could simply be throwing up eels through their noses.
Secondly, the eels could be latching on in self defense as the seal shoves its nose and mouth into crevasses in coral reefs or under rocks.
“If I had to guess, I would say that it’s one of those strange oddities,” Littnan said. “If you observe nature long enough, you’ll see strange things.”
Animals seem to find themselves in precarious positions all the time.
Like this curious Koala that got its head stuck in the fence of a substation in South Australia.
Or these goats... always.
And of course this sassy pet parrot that got stuck on a roof for three days.
Despite having wings, Jessie couldn't get down and told firefighters who came to her aid to "f*** off".
So there you have it, maybe an eel shoving itself up a seal's honker isn't as weird as it seems. Slippery stuff.