The picture made this year in the remote northwestern Hawaiian Islands has become viral, drawing attention to a rare phenomenon that continues to interfere with scientists who are now begging endangered seals to "make better choices."
It all began about two years ago when Charles Litton, the leading scientist in the monastic ash program, woke up in a strange email of researchers in the field. The subject was short: "Nest nest."
"It was just like" We found a seal with an eel stuck in our nose, do we have a protocol? "Said Litton post,
There was no one, said Liton, and several messages and phone calls appeared before the decision to take an eel and try to pull it off.
"There were only about two centimeters from the eel, which were actually still carried by the nose, so it's very close to the magic trick when they take out the handkerchiefs and they keep coming and coming and coming," he said.
Less than a minute later, a 75 centimeter of dead eel appeared from the nostrils of the seal.
Since then, Litton has reported that there have been at least three or four reported cases – the most recent occurrence of this American autumn. In all cases, eels have been successfully removed and stamps "do great," he said. None of the eels, however, survive.
"We have no idea why this is happening suddenly," Litton said. "You see some very strange things if you look at nature long enough, and that could be one of those little quirks and secrets of our career that we will be retired after 40 years and still questioning how this happened."
Researchers have found that this is not the result of a person with a personal vendetta against seals and eels, as all cases have been reported from remote islands visited only by scientists. Lytton said there are a few theories about how an eel can naturally end up in the nostrils of printing.
The favorite prey – usually fish, octopus and, of course, eel – likes to hide in coral reefs to avoid eating, and since marine mammals have no hands, they have to hunt with their faces.
"They love to put their faces in coral reef holes and they will spit water out of their mouths to get out and do all sorts of tricks but they put their faces in holes," Litton said.
Perhaps, he said, a toothbrush thought that the only way to escape or defend yourself was to swim with the attacker's nostrils and with his young diapers, who "are not much in the thing to buy the food," were forced to learn a tough lesson.
But Litton said that the theory does not make sense.
"They are really long eels, and their diameter is probably close to what would be for the nasal passage," he said.
He added that the monstrous seal nostrils that reflect reflexively when they dive for food are very muscular, and it would be difficult for any animal to push.
"I'm struggling to think of an eel that really wants to get into the nose," he said.
The other way the eels can find themselves in the nostrils is to throw them away. Like the way sometimes people eventually throw away food or drinks from their nose, it can also happen with seals that often vomit their food.
Still, Litton said that it does not seem possible that the "long, fat eel" should come out of the nose, not from his mouth. The "most plausible" theory, he said, is that teenage girls are not so different from their human counterparts. Monk seals "seem naturally attracted by the difficulty," said Litton.
"She almost feels like one of those teenage trends that are happening," he said. "A youth press made this a very stupid thing and now others try to imitate it."
Although they did not die or were seriously affected by eels, carrying the dead animal in their noses for prolonged periods leads to potentially adverse health effects, said Simeone, director of Ke Kai Ola, nun hospital in Hawaii, run by the Center for marine mammals.
With an eel placed in his nose, a maiden spot will not be able to close the blocked nostril when he dives, which means that water can get into their lungs and cause problems like pneumonia, Simeone said. The destructive corpse of eels can also cause infections, she said.
On Facebook, the print photo has more than 1,600 reactions from early Friday morning. The title read, "On Monday … maybe it was not good for you, but it had to be better than an eel in your nose." This has also become a Twitter trend.
Many have expressed the sympathy that the seal should test what a Twitter user has described as "the most embarrassing thing."
"RIP eel, but how satisfactory it was for the seal when it was removed?" another man wondered.
However, Litten said that the young seal "seems to have rather not noticed the fact that there were two eel feet protruding from his face."
Overall, Simeone said marine animals are "very strict," adding: "It's amazing what things can bear."
While the "snake trick" has not yet reached the print community, Litton said he hoped he would never do it.
"We hope this is just one of these bears that will disappear and will never be seen again," he said.
If monastic seals understand people, Litton said there was a message to them: "I would gently ask them to stop."