by ecorazzicontributor
Categories: Animals, Video.

Sure, you can have a green Christmas by renting a living tree or a flat-pack, but why not take your eco-efforts up a notch and buy a 3-6 foot long eel to power all those pretty twinkling lights?

That’s what the folks at an aquarium in Kamakura, Japan, decided to do. The tree in their main lobby, trimmed with tinsel, lights, and decorations, looks like any other traditional holiday staple, but what keeps drawing visitors in is the unconventional way their lighting it: through the use of an electric eel.

For five years the aquarium has featured the eel-powered tree to encourage ecological sensitivity. There’s a conductive copper wire in the tank, and every time the eel moves it generates 800 watts of electricity that then sends a surge of electric power to light up the 6 foot tall pine tree.

In an interview, Sumie Chiba, a visitor to the display, said, “I think it’s very nice and extremely eco-friendly.”

While there may be some truth to that, we do have concerns as to the eel’s health, as they generally live in darkness and, as seen in the video, this tank seems to be sparse in terms of comforts and space.

What do you all think? Video after the jump below.

  • Michael dEstries

    I have to be honest: It looks like it pretty much f*cking sucks for the eels.

  • boo radley


  • herwin

    nothing new there. i’ve seen it all over the world in zoos; eel in a small tank and an electric bulb (or whatevere..). Tap the glas, eel gets angry and the light goes on. Frankly i dont get it, you dont have to go all the way to Japan for seaworld cruelty. Just stick to, lets say, Mario Batali, Ecorazi hero because he promotes “meatles monday” (in a questionable way..), Mr Batali likes to cook living lobster and serve them for dinner. YUKS what a deformed mentallity that guy has ! You see, for animal cruelty we dont have to look at other countries, just start with ones own country. :-)

  • georgina

    Another form of animal exploitation?

    If humans are pretty effin inventive why can’t we come with ways to recreate green ways to light the Christmas tree without using eels?

    Like i have said many times, simply pathetic. We call ourselves the superior species and this is all we can come up with? Sad.

  • Vote_for_Pedro

    This is a bunch of BS! The poor eel is out of its enviroment, in such a small cage and is on display like a xmas toy. All this to power a xmas tree?!?! I cant even believe Ecorazzi would put this rubbish on here. Save energy while being cruel to animals.. great idea! jack asses!

  • jennifer

    I have to say this is pretty brutal looking for the eel. He has no environment and no stimulation. I mean if you really want to help the environment why not make the poor eel a large aquarium and make him comfortable and happy. Maybe give him a mate. I can see the benefits of showing the cause and effect between the eel and the tree, but this is just pathetic and empty looking.

  • romika3

    Folks, you all must live in a cardboard box. This is a great demonstration of an amazing ability of the electric eel. Kids love it and it might just get them interested in Biology. I believe there is also one at the Ontario Science Centre for Christmas and it is a seasonal display. As for the eel he/she will be none the worse after the holidays unless someone decides to eat it. Conservation begins with education that spans across the spectrum from books, to museums, to eels lighting Christmas trees to direct experience. Do you folks think the SSCS will attack the aquarium and sink the eel?