In what is truly a bizarre phenomenon reportedly stumping researchers, a handful of dumbass Hawaiian monk seals have recently been observed with eels stuck up their noses—possibly from shoving their faces into crevices, but researchers tasked with observing these fools can’t say for sure.
An image of one such dummy was surfaced Monday on the Facebook page for the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program, which monitors the endangered population of these seals. The post said that it had removed eels from the noses of several seals in the area and that the seals were unharmed in every case, but that the same couldn’t be said for the eels.
In a post to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries website on Wednesday, the agency said that it had observed such an incident “three or four times now” but that it is a relatively new occurrence.
[I]n 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. We don’t know if this is just some strange statistical anomaly or something we will see more of in the future.
Researchers aren’t clear on exactly how this happens, but it might have something to do with either the way Hawaiian monk seals forage for snacks, according to NOAA Fisheries:
Hawaiian monk seals forage by shoving their mouth and nose into the crevasses of coral reefs, under rocks, or into the sand. They are looking for prey that likes to hide, like eels. This may be a case of an eel that was cornered trying to defend itself or escape. Alternatively, the seal could have swallowed the eel and regurgitated it so that the eel came out the wrong way. We might not ever know.
The program reported another eel-in-nose incident on Facebook in 2016. Over the course of several posts, researchers with the program wrote they noticed a male seal with an eel stuck in its face and making a “wheezing sound with every breath.” And reader—for the love of god—if you are eating, please stop reading now.
According to the final post in this slippery saga, researchers were able to trap the seal and extract a two-foot-long goddamn eel from its nose, noting that it “was surprising as only about 4 inches were hanging out” of its nose before extraction.
“It was almost like those magician trick scarves that they just keep pulling out of the hat,” the post added. “We are pretty sure the complete animal was removed, as the skull was found, but some fins or spines may have come off the eel during the removal. The seal did not struggle very much, and no blood came out when the eel was being removed.”
Never forget that nature is metal as hell. [Atlas Obscura]
Featured photo: Brittany Dolan (NOAA Fisheries)