The octopus escape artist

The octopus escape artist

The adjacent slightly blurry photo features an octopus that was caught on the Catalina Above and Below trip hosted by Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.

Octopuses are often referred to as the most intelligent invertebrate and the octopus in the photo proved to be no exception. Upon being placed in the tank, it immediately curled up in the corner squinting at the humans (allegedly the most intelligent vertebrate) stopping by to take a look. But its docile behavior turned out to be very deceiving…

Since it was difficult for passengers to get a good look at the octopus tucked in the back corner of the tank, Larry Fukuhara, Programs Director at Cabrillo Aquarium moved it to one of the small plastic pools (one of those little blue pools usually used for human toddlers) on the boat providing everyone the chance to see marine life up close.

As soon as the octopus hit the water, it zoomed across the baby pool, climbed over the side, and ducked through the little grate on the side of the boat that lets out water never to be seen again. This all happened within seconds. It happened so fast that no one even had the chance to say, “Hey, stop that octopus!” We didn’t even have time to say, “Hey!”

But how did the octopus know that it could escape that way? Did it scope out all the escape options as soon as it came on board? Was it watching the other animals in the pool from the tank thinking, “Those suckers, don’t they realize there’s an escape route just on the other side of that pool?” This octopus made a very exact beeline for the only way out, there was no need for a “first attempt.” I laughed out loud when it happened, but the escape artist definitely had the last laugh.

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