Japan Aquarium Features Electric Eel Powered Christmas Tree

© 2006 Steven G. Johnson

Much to the amazement of visitors, an aquarium in Japan is making some shocking changes to the way we view Christmas ornaments – they have plugged in an electric eel to power the lights on their Christmas tree.

Every time the eel makes a move, two aluminum panels take in enough power to light up the two meter tall tree, which is covered in white, and provides an amazing pattern of glowing lights.

The aquarium has actually been using the eel to help promote ecological sensitivity in visitors for the past half decade.

This year, they have raised the bar a bit, and even added a robot Santa which sings and dances when visitors jump on a pad.

“We first decided to get an electric eel to light up a Christmas tree and its top ornament using its electricity,” said a representative on the public relations team for the Enoshima Aquarium, Kazuhiko Minawa. “As electric eels use their muscles when generating a charge, we also thought to get humans to use their muscles to light up parts of the tree and power Santa.”

Sumie Chiba, a frequent visitor to the aquarium – located just to the south of Tokyo –, was rather intrigued by the display, however she was not at all convinced of the practicality of using electric eels to power normal, everyday, appliances in the home. “If this was possible, I think it’s very nice and extremely eco-friendly,” she commented.