Eels with social anxiety want to FaceTime with you

Who said technology can’t bring us closure to nature?

Many of us are realizing just how much we need social interaction to keep ourselves sane.


After being cooped up inside a house, it’s safe to say we’re all going a bit stir crazy.


Turns out a group of spotted garden eels are feeling the same way, and zoo officials want you to help.


Caretakers at Tokyo’s Sumida Aquarium passed by the tank housing the eels and noticed the animals burrowed into the sand to avoid the caretakers.

"Chin Anago has become accustomed to the absence of people. Just approaching it makes them dive into the hole, which makes it difficult for the breeding staff to confirm whether or not the eels are fine," the Aquarium wrote on Twitter.


Aquarium officials believe that the new behavior exhibited is because the eels have become accustomed to having no visitors since the pandemic began.


Eels are known to burrow into the ground when frightened or scared however, this new way of life will affect scientists’ ability to study the animals.


“The disappearance of the Chinese eels made it difficult for the breeding staff to check whether they are doing well, whether they are healthy, are they thin, and are they ill,” the release added.


The aquarium launched an “emergent” three-day event and asked members of the public to video-call the eels in an attempt to re-familiarize them with people.


The “face showing festival” will be the aquarium’s first attempt at reacclimating the fish to humans through technology.


“Show us your faces so that the Chinese eels will remember the existence of humans,” the press release said.


Aquarium staff are unsure if the calls will be successful and explain that the eels may remain under the sand while people attempt to call.


The festival will start on Sunday and end on Tuesday.


Here’s how to FaceTime an eel


Interested callers can the aquarium from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. ET.


To start, open FaceTime and call one of five different cameras listed below:


  • helpchin001@gmail.com

  • ‌helpchin002@gmail.com

  • ‌helpchin003@gmail.com

  • ‌helpchin004@gmail.com

  • ‌helpchin005@gmail.com‌


Callers will be able to interact with the eels but are reminded not to make loud noises.


“When you start a video call, shake your hand while showing your face to the Chinese eel,” the release added.


After 5 minutes the aquarium asks that you hang up to make room for the next caller.


For more information on how to connect to the eels, visit the aquarium’s website.


Who’s ready to FaceTime a shy eel?

© 2020 by Thomas Metevia.