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Video of sea otter dousing fake fire at west Japan aquarium goes viral

May the sea otter pours water on a red traffic cone representing fire in this photo provided by Toba Aquarium in Toba, Mie Prefecture.

TOBA, Mie -- Video of a sea otter at an aquarium here bravely putting out a "fire" with a hose has become an internet sensation, garnering some 500,000 views shortly after it was tweeted by the aquarium earlier this month.

    May, a female sea otter at Toba Aquarium in Toba, Mie Prefecture, is seen gripping a hose in her front paws with grim determination, leveling it at a red traffic cone representing a fire. The 16-year-old was serving as a "one-day fire brigade chief" in the video released on Nov. 7, ahead of Japan's annual autumn fire prevention week from Nov. 9 through 15.

    The video also happened to catch the eye of Toba city fire department chief Masutoshi Maeda, who was deeply moved by May's "great contribution to calling people's attention to fire prevention."

    The fire department decided to thank May with a letter of gratitude and a gift of a Japanese spiny lobster, her favorite food.

    May the sea otter savors a Japanese spiny lobster at Toba Aquarium in Toba, Mie Prefecture. (Kazushige Hayashi)

    Upon receiving the frozen lobster, accompanied by a note reading "To Ms. May, with gratitude," May munched on her big treat while floating on her back in a water tank, as people including Maeda and aquarium director Kanau Okude looked on. Families watching around the tank cheered, with one member calling out to May, "You're so cute! Come here."

    The video can be viewed on the aquarium's official Twitter account at:

    (Japanese original by Kazushige Hayashi)

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