Please enjoy this photo of a seal with an eel stuck up its nose

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Please enjoy this photo of a seal with an eel stuck up its nose

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A monk seal in Hawaii was photographed with an eel stuck up its nose — and it is your new spirit animal.

The photo of the adorable and mildly uncomfortable-looking seal with an eel dangling from its nostril was shared by the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program, which works with the NOAA Fisheries to conserve and protect the Hawaiian Monk seal population, according to Newsweek.

NOAA FISHERIES/BRITTANY DOLAN” data-credit-provider=”custom type” data-fragment=”m!2c9b” data-image=”https://i.amz.mshcdn.com/QcNKxjtC3-RkvwwYhw6WcyobQzk=/https%3A%2F%2Fblueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.com%2Fuploads%2Fcard%2Fimage%2F894648%2Fc8ed7a2a-af4b-436a-9a2b-9a0458e2ecc0.jpg” data-micro=”1″ src=”https://i.amz.mshcdn.com/8nF2tCDk0fqjNukydyHaQQ6SxGc=/fit-in/1200×9600/https%3A%2F%2Fblueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.com%2Fuploads%2Fcard%2Fimage%2F894648%2Fc8ed7a2a-af4b-436a-9a2b-9a0458e2ecc0.jpg”>

Image: NOAA FISHERIES/BRITTANY DOLAN

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Apparently, eels getting stuck in seals noses happens occasionally, but no one is certain as to why.

“We have reported on this phenomenon before which was first noted a few years back. We have now found juvenile seals with eels stuck in their noses on multiple occasions,” the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program wrote in a Facebook post on Monday. “In all cases the eel was successfully removed and the seals were fine. The eels, however, did not make it.” 

It’s sad to hear that the eels didn’t survive after being removed from the seal’s nose, but considering they chose to enter the seal’s nose without permission, they’re really the architects of their own demise here.

“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,” NOAA Fisheries wrote in a blog post on its website. “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.”

Regardless, we’re happy to hear this sweet, vaguely irritated monk seal has been returned to its normal, eel-less state. 

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