From the TONMO vault
Portobello Aquarium Amazing Escapes 2004
Harry the octopus was notorious for getting out (He was named for Harry Houdini!!). His record was 5 x in 1.5 hours! BUt the best one was one night! We do a check on water flows and animal health etc at 10.30 pm. The aquarist who was doing it was coming down the stairs in the dark and heard a squelching sound in front of her, turned on the light and there was Harry halfway up the stairs!!! Now Harry weighed about 18kg or so and the aquarist was around 5ft 1inches tall and quite slight. She went and got a big net, and started to net him to retiurn him to the tank.....semms it took nearly an hour to get hin in the net, down the stairs and along past two tanks to his own
cos he suckers onto her, onto the walls, onto the floor and she'd get some arms in and others would pop out, get them in and the others would pop out (of the net!) and so on.......!!!
Then there was Dr Mike, who got into an adjacent tank and removed all the rock work from the walls (they'd only been cemented in place
) and piled them in a corner! He also was responsable for eating our giant spider crabs!
We'd been asked to ship an octopus to an aquarium on the west coast. So we duly packed up the octopus in a nice comfy chilly bin all duct taped shut. Put a big notice on it ...."CAUTION LIVE OCTOPUS!" This was more to ensure that it didn't get chucked around than anything else. It was flown to Christchurch and then was couriered across the Southern Alps to the west coast.........well part way across the mountains the couriers curiousity got the better of him and he OPENED THE BIN!
To be faced with one extremely irate (large) octopus. Then he couldn't get the lid back on properly, I'm told he spent the rest of the trip trying to keep the octopus in the bin!!!! He then had the cheek to send us a bill for cleaning the saltwater out of his truck
Needless to say we refused to pay it, suggesting to him that a package being sent from one aquarium to another might just possibly actually contain what it said it did.....and anyway why was he opening our package!!!!!!!!
The octopus lived his natural lifespan out so it obviously didn't do him any harm...the driver tho' may have lost a few years!
I'm busy working before we open, siphoning out the touch tanks when I hear "HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELP"
from out the back. I go to investigate and there's one of the other staff with an octopus wrapped around his legs! Seems he'd decided to give the octopus tank a good scrub and was moving Octavius to a holding tank when he slipped out of the net and grabbed hold! He had 4 arms round the aquarists legs, 2 round his arms (he was tryng to unwind him) and 2 attached to the floor, so he was completely hogtied by this octopus! !
I have to confess I fell about laughing it was sooooooo funny. When I recovered I had to go find a couple of other staff members, it took 3 of us to get Octavius off!
Funny tho' the octopus prisoner didn't see the funny side and was put out with us!
Portobello Aquarium Harry
The story goes like this.......We had a rather large common octopus called Harry (after Houdini) who we had secured (or so we thought
) in our octopus tank.......anyway we do a security/animal check at around 10pm each night and that particular night it was the then senior aquarists turn, she was five foot 2 or so and Harry measured just over 2m arm spread (I think, it was a long time ago....but he was BIG!) anyway the aquarist was coming down the stairs from the staff room and hadn't bothered to switch on the lights, when she heard......sluuuuuuuuurp.........coming from somewhere in front of her, so back up the stairs, on with the lights and there is Harry, halfway up the stairs!!!!!! She is all by herself.......but.... bravely gets a net an tries to persuade Harry to get in it and stay in! No sooner had she got one set of arms in when another would flash out and grab the wall, the floor, her legs, her arms etc etc........took her three quarters of a hour to wrestle him back into his tank!!!
Shortly after that he escaped 5 times in the space of a couple of hours.........then we released him......too much work!
"I do not like thee Lily Bell. The reason why I cannot tell. But this I know and know full well...
We had another who had a mutual dislike of one of the staff, he hated her she hated him! Every time she walked past the back of the tank, (if the tank doors were open) she got a jet of water (several litres) on the back of her head! It was great fun on days when she was assigned octopus tank cleaning (which if we were feeling
was often!) He'd steal the tools, squirt her and if it was a day when we dropped the water level so she could climb into the tank in waders, he'd lunge at her, grab her, pinch the bucket (for crab debris) and on one memorable occasion managed to undo the strap holding one of the waders to her belt and get it filled with water.......very funny for the audience.......strangely... she quit soon after that!
Portobello Aquarium Tank Hopping
This story is absolutely 110% TRUE!!! It happened at the Aquarium right here at Portobello!!!!
The culprit was our Pinnoctopus cordiformis
(then O. maorum
) and he skipped out of his tank over the top of another tank into the Crayfish tank ( Jasus edwardsii
) had a meal and skipped home before the resident technician did his late night checks! He was caught when the tech came in half an hour early to do the checks. I have since seen (PERSONALLY!) other members of this species do the exact same thing (although we've shifted the crays as it's too expensive to keep sending the boats and divers out for more!). We've since sealed the octi tank with perspex sheets (astroturf and all that sort of stuff didn't work!).
Incredible but true.......I have seen with my own eyes!!!
Octo Bites Thread - Roy Caldwell (picture this in a remake of Airplane )
Species of octopus(if known) O. cyanea
Age of octopus: Juvenile
Size of mantle: about 5 cm
Type of bite
nibble, series of bites, whether skin broken): beak penetrated skin on hand
How did it occur? during feeding, letting octo climb on top of hand, etc.: Trying to stuff it back into a bottle on a plane.
Reaction: bleeding, redness, other visible effects, pain, and how long did this reaction last: bleeding for 5 minutes
Comments about the bite and your reaction: It hurt but I was distracted while trying to calm down the flight crew and passengers.