Monk seals snort eels

A juvenile Hawaiian monk seal was found with a spotted eel in its nose at French Frigate Shoals in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.
Stuff ?reports: quote.

It all began about two years ago when Charles Littnan, lead scientist of the monk seal programme, woke up to a strange email from researchers in the field. The subject line was short: “Eel in nose.”

“It was just like, ‘We found a seal with an eel stuck in its nose, do we have a protocol?'” Littnan told?The Post?in a phone interview.

There was none, Littnan said, and it took several emails and phone calls before the decision was made to grab the eel and try pulling it out.

“There was only maybe two inches of the eel actually still sticking out of the nose, so it was very much akin to the magician’s trick when they’re pulling out the handkerchiefs and they keep coming and coming and coming,” he said.

After less than a minute of tugging, a two-and-a-half-foot dead eel emerged from the seal’s nostril.

Since then, Littnan said there have been at least three or four reported cases – the most recent occurring this autumn. In all the cases, the eels were removed successfully and the seals are “doing great”, he said. None of the eels, however, survived. end quote.

Is there a #metoo movement for eels? #meeltoo? quote.

“We have no idea why this is suddenly happening,” Littnan said. “You see some very strange things if you watch nature long enough and this could end up being one of these little oddities and mysteries of our careers that 40 years from now, we’ll be retired and still questioning quite how this happened.”

Researchers have already determined this is not the result of a human with a personal vendetta against seals and eels, because all the cases were reported from remote islands that are only frequented by scientists. Littnan said he does have a few theories about how an eel could naturally end up wedged in a seal’s nostril. end quote.

It is obvious. They are snuff eels. They should be renamed immediately. quote.

“They’re really quite long eels, and their diameter is probably close to what it would be for a nasal passage,” he said.

He added that a monk seal’s nostrils, which reflexively close when they are diving for food, are very muscular and it would be difficult for any animal to push through.

“I struggle to think of an eel really wanting to force its way into a nose,” he said.

The other way eels might be ending up in nostrils is through throwing up. Similar to how people sometimes end up accidentally spewing food or beverages from their noses, that could also happen to seals, who often regurgitate their meals. end quote.

Wouldn’t it be lovely to be an eel? Get eaten, but just as the lights are going out, you get thrown out into the air again… but only part of the way. So you die anyway, but just at the point where you think you were saved. Nice. quote.

Still, Littnan said it doesn’t seem possible that a “long, fat eel” would end up going through a seal’s nose rather than out of its mouth. The “most plausible” theory, he said, is that monk seal teenagers aren’t all that different from their human counterparts. Monk seals “seem naturally attracted to getting into troublesome situations”,?Littnan said.

“It almost does feel like one of those teenage trends that happen,” he said. “One juvenile seal did this very stupid thing and now the others are trying to mimic it.” end quote.

Well, we did have Fortnite and Tide Pods. Clearly, juvenile monk seals are the same. Always up to no good. quote.

Though no seals have died or been seriously affected by the eels, having a dead animal up their noses for any extended amount of time poses potentially adverse health impacts, said Simeone, director of Ke Kai Ola, a monk seal hospital in Hawaii run by the Marine Mammal Center. end quote.

Better than Tide Pods then. No monk seals have died. Good show. quote.

While “eel snorting” has yet to really catch on in the seal community, Littnan said he hopes it never does.

“We’re hoping it’s just one of these flukes that will disappear and never be seen again,” he said.

If monk seals could understand humans, Littnan said he has a message for them: “I would gently plead for them to stop.” end quote.

It is obviously fun and humans do much more stupid things than stick eels up their nostrils. Obviously, the monk seals think they look cool.

Don’t worry about the seals yet, Mr Littnan. Wait until they start piecing their nipples or getting tattoos. THEN you should start to worry.