'Hawaiian monk seals forage by shoving their mouth and nose into the crevasses of coral reefs, under rocks, or into the sand, ' the NOAA team explains.
Apparently, eels getting stuck in seals noses happens occasionally, but no one is certain as to why.
In what is truly a freaky phenomenon reportedly stumping researchers, a handful of not-so-smart 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. 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.
"We've been intensively monitoring monk seals for four decades and in all of that time nothing like this has happened", said Charles Littnan, lead scientist at Noaa's Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program.
"When an eel lunges out and clamps on to your snout, That's a Moray", joked one commenter on Facebook. We don't know if this is just some unusual statistical anomaly or if we will see more eels in seals in the future", NOAA said. "We might never know".
Monk seals are endangered.
Fortunately, all the be-eeled seals they've spotted have been successfully de-eeled.
Or, just like in the YouTube videos where people sneeze and spit up long strands of pasta through their noses, the seal could have regurgitated an eel that it ate, with the eel coming out the wrong pipe, Littnan said. Maybe the eels secrete some kind of aquatic nose-beer analogy. The post goes on to say that researchers have found young seals with eels stuck in their noses on "multiple occasions". "The eels, however, did not make it".
The refreshing news comes as researchers work to protect the endangered species, which is one of just two species of monk seal still in existence.
Officials estimate only about 1,400 Hawaiian monk seals remain in the wild, most of which are found near the northwestern Hawaiian Islands. And reader - for the love of god - if you are eating, please stop reading now.