Seal with Eel Stuck Up Its Nose Was Probably Just Really Bad at Hunting, Scientists Say

Live Science | 12/6/2018 | Staff
TimHyuga (Posted by) Level 3
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So, no one told you life was gonna be this way.

The Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program released a photo on Monday of a poor Hawaiian monk seal, squinting in what can only be a what-is-my-life look, with a probably-also-distressed eel stuck up its nose.

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Oddly, it seems to always be in the right nostril, but "I don't really think that means anything," Littnan told Live Science. This whole situation could just be a "weird anomaly" or a "crazy statistical quirk, and we may never see it again," he added. "We have no idea why it's happening."

Eel - Littnan - Ideas - Monk - Seals

As to how the eel gets stuck, Littnan has several ideas. The monk seals feed on or near the bottom of the ocean, because they're "very efficient" and "don't like to chase things in the water," he said. So, they go for the food, like eels, whose strategy is to hide.

Monk seals nose around in coral reefs, root around in the sand, and flip over 50-lb. (22 kilograms) rocks to grab hiding octopuses, Littnan said. While the unfortunate, recently photographed seal was doing this, an eel could have, in a case of self-defense, "rammed itself into the nostril and maybe got stuck," Littnan said.

Seal - Eel - Surface - Prey - Eel

Or if the seal brought the eel out to the surface to eat the prey, the eel could have whipped around and got into the nose, Littnan said. Since this phenomenon has been observed only in juvenile seals, Littnan said it could also just be that the seals are inexperienced at hunting.

Or, just like in the YouTube videos where people...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Live Science
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