Aquarium uses eel to power Christmas tree

Dec. 4, 2012 at 12:35 PM

SANDY, Utah, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- The Living Planet Aquarium in Utah says it is using an electric eel to power the lights on a Christmas tree in its "Journey To South America" gallery.

Terry Smith, project manager at Cache Valley Electric, said the electricity generated by an eel in a nearby tank causes the four strands of lights on the 5-foot tree to flash intermittently at the Sandy aquarium.

Officials at the aquarium said electric eels can discharge specialized cells called electrocytes simultaneously to create a 600-volt electric charge equal to about five times the power of a standard U.S. wall socket.

"Visitors can visually and audibly experience the power of our electric eel and get a real sense of how amazing this creature is," said Angie Hyde, director of public relations and marketing. "We thought we'd put a festive twist on it for the holidays which has been a huge hit with our members and visitors."

The eel-powered tree will be on display through Dec. 31, officials said.

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