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Noeel: Electric Eel Lights Up Christmas Tree in Tennessee

An electric eel in Chattanooga, Tenn., is sparking a little holiday cheer. Every time Miguel Wattson the electric eel releases a jolt of electricity, a festively-decorated Christmas tree next to his tank at the Tennessee Aquarium flickers and glows.

"There is a sensor directly in his exhibit that picks up when he produces electricity," Aquarist Kimberly Hurt, who cares for the electric eel, tells NPR. The aquarium had already connected the sensor to a soundboard and a light board to correspond with Wattson's bursts, says Hurt. "It'll light up the board. It also does make some noise so people can hear when he's producing electricity."
So it wasn't a huge leap to also have Wattson's sensors connected to a Christmas tree, for a seasonal spin on the display.

We should clarify that the electricity produced by the eel is not literally powering the lights on the tree – the sensors and other equipment are "translating when he's producing electricity to the lights," Hurt says.

This isn't the first time the aquarium has made creative use out of Wattson's bursts of electricity. The fish has had a Twitter account since 2014 (@EelectricMiguel) which puts out prewritten tweets whenever the probes in his tank detect a jolt of power above a trigger threshold. The account has attracted some 30,000 followers.

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