This Electric Eel Can Generate Enough Electricity to Light a Christmas Tree

Image Credit: Pixabay

‘Tis the season to watch eels power your Christmas lights show.

Isn’t that the way the saying goes? No?

Well it might be now, after the Tennessee Aquarium live-tweeted their resident social media eel, Miguel Wattson, using his bio-electric discharges to light up a Christmas tree.

Their “Shocking around the Christmas Tree” exhibit uses a special system to connect Miguel’s tank to the light strands on a nearby tree, and it’s honestly more magical than you might expect.

The aquarium issued a statement on their newest sensation:

“Whenever Miguel discharges electricity, sensors in the water deliver the charge to a set of speakers. The speakers convert the discharge into the sound you hear and the festively flashing lights.”

Despite being dubbed “electric eels,” they aren’t eels at all, but freshwater knifefish. They’re closely related to carp and catfish, but because of their appearance, get lumped in with eels instead.

They can generate up to 860 volts of electricity – which means they could power a refrigerator, too, if only for a short while.

“The rapid, dim blinking of the lights is caused by the constant, low-voltage blips of electricity he releases when he’s trying to find food. The bigger flashes are caused by the higher voltage shocks he emits when he’s eating or excited.”

Typical male, if you ask me.

Electrophorus electricus can also use the low pulsating electric discharges to communicate with one another in the slow-moving, murky rivers where they live in South America. The fish also use their shocking ability to hunt, and as defense mechanisms in the event another animal tries to bite them.