[Predator vs. Prey] Cuttlefish Attacks Octopus 2008


Staff member
Moderator (Staff)
Sep 4, 2006
Alan McLennan
Published on Apr 4, 2008

While working under water an octopus took my spanner. Then we both get a surprise! It was taken by me when I was servicing the Current Meter sonar which is located in 21 metres of water off Port Kembla Harbour, NSW. The reason you can here my voice is that I was wearing a full face mask with hard wired communications to the surface. The camera picked up my reaction. The fuzzy reply is the surface crew replying. I was undoing the bolts on the Current Meter housing for routine servicing, when the octopus crept out of the housing, and demanded to have my spanner. I am sure the cuttlefish must have been biding his time on this octopus. But the octopus could not resist my spanner, it made repeated attempts to steal it as I tried to undo the bolts. This game of taking my spanner went on for several minutes. Eventually I gave up on the bolts and took out my camera, which I had with me to record the condition of the Current Meter. I thought it was interesting so I took some photos. Then I decided to switch the camera to video mode. I was totally unaware of the cuttlefish, which I thought was just a piece of seaweed. I got a big shock when the cuttlefish struck. The shock in my voice is my genuine reaction. Each year from April to June the cuttlefish off Sydney become extremely aggressive. They often follow divers and sometimes attack them. But they love octopus. I had a repeat experience last year in May, when I again had an octopus come out of its lair to try and take a shiny buckle which was attached to a rope. After a few minutes a cuttlefish attacked the octopus exactly as before. Unfortunately for the cuttlefish, this time the octopus managed to keep half its body free, and after a minute of intense struggle it slipped out of the cuttlefish's grip, and, I kid you not, sat on the cuttlefish's head. So there we were, I am looking at them holding my breath, the octopus is sitting on the cuttlefish's head, and the octopus is looking at me with a "Can you believe it" expression. After another minute of stillness, the octopus shot off in a cloud of ink, leaving the cuttlefish confused and exhausted. Unfortunately I did not have camera handy. For the Techies: It was shot using a Sony DSC-P100 in a housing with a strobe. The original stills were shot at 2592*1954 pixels, and the video was shot on available light at 640x480 VX Fine w/audio at 30fps.