Boris the enormous eel can get back to keeping the local duckling population under control now a nasty hook is out of her lip.
The famous long-finned fish had Pukekura Park staff extremely anxious earlier this week after a member of the public spotted her swimming about with the barb in her mouth.
Park curator Chris Conolly said the fishing hook had probably been left behind by a bunch of children who captured and killed a number of other eels at the park a fortnight ago.
"We needed to remove the hook for her own health, rather than let it rust out," Mr Connolly said earlier this week.
He had planned to set a net for the injured Boris on Thursday night, then take the hook out, but the clever creature appears to have saved him the trouble by working the barb out by herself.
The park's Teahouse manager, Jodie Paice, was the first to see Boris without her unwelcome accessory.
"She normally comes out about lunchtime when there's lots of people here feeding the ducks," Miss Paice said.
"So I saw her on Thursday afternoon and I didn't see the hook or any tears in her mouth or anything."
The Taranaki Daily News then went on an eel hunt of its own, along with Mr Connolly, and managed to get some photographs of the two-metre-long Boris swimming happily near the Teahouse deck.
There was no sign of the hook or any injuries, except perhaps in the way the elderly eel only mouthed some food, rather than gobbling it whole as usual.
"I'm just so pleased to see that she's OK," Mr Connolly said.
Some of the smaller visitors to the park were glad to see Boris was OK, too, especially one very excited Carter Hitchcock, 3.
"There he is! There he goes! There he is again," little Carter said.
"Oh, I like him."
Carter didn't like the eel enough to take her home, however – even though his mum offered him the chance – so Boris will remain at the lake for now, hopefully without any more hassles.
All plants and animals, including eels at Pukekura Park are protected. Anyone breaking that rule can be prosecuted.