Nick Tobler is TikTok’s eel pit guy, and he’s happy to answer all your eel-based questions.
An eel pit is, as editor Julia Glum wrote on Twitter, “exactly what it sounds like.” It’s a pit for eels. Her viral tweet about how Tobler was finally set to receive the eels for the project he’d been working on for months introduced his posts to the people who hadn’t yet ended up on EelTok.
Commenters called the day the 12 American eels arrived “historic,” “life-changing,” and the “best day ever.”
“BABE WAKE UP THE EELS ARE HERE,” one said. “I called my mom just to tell her the good news,” another wrote.
Tobler, a 25-year-old aquarium store manager, told BuzzFeed News via DM that he doesn’t mind that he’s constantly bombarded with concerned TikTokers who quiz him on his safety practices.
“If I can’t explain my animal husbandry I probably shouldn’t be doing it,” he said. “The only questions that bother me are when people really try to humanize the eels. People might not like a cold dark hole but it’s the ideal home for a bunch of eels.”
Tobler didn’t name his animals before his TikTok fame — just Mango the lungfish — but he let TikTok name the highly anticipated eels.
“My favorite eels are named Bathtub and Crunchwrap Supreme,” he said. Other pitched names include Eelon Musk, Steely Dan, and Neil. There’s also a white crayfish named Mayonnaise.
The eel pit isn’t in his basement, contrary to popular belief. Instead, it’s located under his garage, in an unused rainwater cistern, in Kentucky, not far from his primary home in Cincinnati, Ohio.
He’s not taking care of the animals for research or preservation, either — he just really likes eels.
“This dude is playing Pokemon in real life,” one commenter said.
Glum, who is responsible for sharing Tobler’s work on Twitter, told BuzzFeed News that it was “extremely satisfying” to see the eel pit come together.
“The eels’ arrival felt like the season finale of a TV show,” she said. “Also, 72 hours later, my replies are STILL full of eel-themed puns, memes, and even poetry.”
Tobler said the eels are “doing great” and ate in front of him for the first time a few hours after they arrived. He has six aquariums at the moment, and he’s excited to do something cool with the “sealed 5,000-gallon pond” that came with his new house.
“My favorite animals are oddball fish. The weirder the better,” he said. “But I also love reptiles and amphibians and I regularly go on trips looking for things to take pictures of. The internet definitely can’t get enough of the eels, though.”
And it looks like we’ll be getting plenty of eel content — they can live more than 80 years in captivity, Tobler said.