The Sumida Aquarium in Japan is inviting people to have a short Facetime call with their tank of garden eels. This is no livestream; it’s a two-way call, and they specifically want the eels to see your face.
The aquarium writes that the eels are normally very shy, and hide in the sand, but that in their tank they are used to seeing visitors pass by. Now that the aquarium is closed to visitors, the eels are starting to get shy again. So shy, in fact, that they’re not letting keepers get a good enough look to properly take care of them.
What’s a garden eel? Well, they’re adorable. They live in burrows, and they poke their heads out at feeding time. Here’s what they look like:
If you want to Facetime these eels (and, yes, you’ll need the Facetime app on iOS), the aquarium is asking that you do so during May 3-5, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tokyo time. Because of the time zone difference, those of us in the US will be watching in the evening. So that’s May 2-4, 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Eastern US time, or 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Pacific.
Keepers are setting up five screens surrounding the eel tank, so you can call in to any of these five accounts:
The aquarium asks that you show your face, and may talk and wave, but please don’t shout at the eels. And after you’ve Facetimed for five minutes, hang up and give somebody else a turn.