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Eels at Sumida
Photograph: Flickr/Haya_BS

This Tokyo aquarium wants you to visit its shy eels via video chat

It doesn't want them to forget what human interaction is like – honestly, we can relate.

Written by
Divya Venkataraman

If you're feeling the strain of solitary life, spare a thought for these eels – they don't even have the latest season of Killing Eve to keep them company. At Sumida Aquarium in Tokyo, staff are inviting you to pop in via video chat to say 'hey' to their ordinarily reclusive garden eel species – so that the eels don't forget what human interactions is like, and stop emerging from their usual sandy hideaways.  

Sumida Aquarium's garden eels are shy, slender, Pixar-perfect creatures who only pop up to greet human visitors to the aquarium when they feel comfortable enough to do so. Now that the aquarium has shuttered its doors to guests, staff are concerned that the eels are becoming more wary, shy and reclusive in their solitary existences. Usually, visitors can see their little heads pop in and out of the sand in their long tank – but recently, they've been burying their heads in the sand more and more. And that is where you come in. You can dial in via Facetime on a compatible device (that means no Androids) via one of the email addresses the aquarium has set up, from 11am-3pm AEST or 10am-2pm, Japanese time – between May 3-5. It'll be tempting to stick around for longer, but the aquarium has asked that you limit calls to five minutes each. 

Now, it's true that all this new-found solo time can be an opportunity for self-discovery and to get to understand ourselves and our own needs. We're really happy for the people – and the eels – who've managed to do that. But sometimes, it's good to be pushed out of your comfort zone, or up above the sand. So pop in and see these shy little guys – and maybe they'll pop up to say hello back.

Now, check out the best livestreams in Sydney – from deadly sea creatures to cuddly encounters. 

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