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Octopus Escapes


Staff member
Moderator (Staff)
Sep 4, 2006
Cape Coral, FL
After a recent escape it occured to me that it would be helpful to keep a list of threads and incidences to easily find escapes, causes and results. I will hunt up some of the ones already posted and add individual links back to the threads but feel free to record or link experiences.

Phew, there are a lot more escapes than I remembered and just about every species we typically see represented. Oddly I have not found a mercatoris yet and one paper listed them high in the escape category.
Jean listed a story about one of the octos at the aquarium getting out and going up the stairs... I just read that yesterday. Also on Parodox thread on the 3 page but I dont know if that applies here cause it wasnt one of our octos.

BTW thank you for this... Its a great idea.
P. Cordiformis - Jean Portobello Teaching Aquarium

Jean's octos count as "our octopuses" and when she journals them there are links added to the list of our octopuses 20xx :biggrin2: but she has been a bit remiss lately. I saw the post on Paradox's thread but somewhere she has an expanded version that I was going to try to find but it appears people are shopping heavily tonight and the internet is flakey.

Ok, I found one of Jean's original story tellings about Harry (actualy there are a couple on the thread as well as some urban legend type escape stories)

And one this year about Fidgety Fred who was eventually released because he kept escaping to the drain.
A. Aculeatus, Female - Neogonodactylus

We lost an adult female A. aculeatus last week. The tank was sealed except for a small 1 cm hole that it crawled out through. We found it dead the next morning. A. aculeatus are not particularly prone to escapes, but females looking to den up seem to explore more than others and sometimes find a way out.

Midnight Rambler - Monterey Bay Aquarium

Midnight Rambler June 28, 2012

It was 3 a.m. on June 25, and Security Officer Clara Nilsen was making her regular rounds of the Aquarium’s ground-floor exhibits. Suddenly, she spied what looked like a banana peel on the floor, in front of our Shale Reef lookdown exhibit.

“That’s odd,” she thought to herself. “Our custodial staff is usually so thorough!”

Closer examination revealed that the “banana peel” was actually a live, healthy, fist-sized red octopus (Octopus rubescens) in the midst of a midnight ramble. But where had it come from? A little Cephalopod CSI provided the answer: There was an octopus-sized wet mark on the railing in front of the Shale Reef exhibit, and an eight-foot “slime trail” leading across the floor. Mystery solved!

Clara, an experienced diver and underwater enthusiast, quickly picked up the escape artist and placed it in the water, where it “inked,” then disappeared under a rock.

Red Octopus Road Trip

But here’s where the story gets really interesting. As it turns out, the red octopus isn’t normally part of the Shale Reef exhibit, which is open on top so that visitors can look down onto an array of colorful invertebrates with the help of large, floating magnifiers.

Our husbandry staff believes the octopus hitchhiked into the Aquarium as a tiny, fingernail-size juvenile, attached to a rock or sponge. Once inside the exhibit, the reclusive, nocturnal octopus hid among the rocks, growing to its current size undetected. Based on the octopus’s size, our aquarists think it has been there—presiding over its own, secret octopus’s garden—for close to a year!

“We’d noticed that there weren’t as many crabs coming out at feeding time in that exhibit,” said Senior Aquarist Barbara Utter. “Now we realize that’s where they’d all been going—into the octopus’s tummy!”

What’s just as amazing is that none of our visitors, poring over the exhibit through the magnifiers eight hours a day, saw it either.

The clever stowaway is now behind the scenes, being readied for display in a Splash Zone exhibit. This time, you can bet that the intelligent, agile animal will be kept in an enclosed space—and closely watched!
My Best Hitchhicker is an Octopus! Buddy Pine (Reef Central)

This is my all time favorite forum post. Sadly it is not on TONMO but I will post the link as I often send people to read the adventure when the subject of hitchhikers and octopus escapes is a topic of discussion. I started reading the thread when he first discovered the O. briareus juvenile so the drama unfolded as I read each new post but it is a "can't put down" read even now.

My BEST hitchhicker is an Octopus! Reef Central, member Buddy Pine June 2006
Well, we all know that octopuses can screw the lid off a jar (whether inside it or outside it) and that some can even predict the outcome of football matches. We now have evidence, though, that sliding doors are beyond their capacity.

Students of aquaculture research in the lab of Nobuhiko Akiyama at Tokai University in Shizuoka, Japan, discovered this octopus trying its best to get into the university aquaculture lab. This despite the fact that it was housed outdoors in its own tank with an open circulation from a naturally filtered underground source. Some octopuses will never be satisfied.

Takahiro Kiguchi took this image of Yuta Suzumura and his friends with the wandering octopus.

A warning to any young octopuses out there: don't try this yourself at home - you will damage your appendages and might never walk again.



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