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.
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.
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.
An octopus has made a successful dash for freedom from a New Zealand aquarium and is now thought to be roaming the Pacific Ocean.
Inky the octopus took his chance to escape through a small gap in his enclosure at the National Aquarium in the coastal city of Napier. After managing to squeeze his way out, Inky slid across the floor and found a 15cm-wide (6in) drain pipe which - luckily for him - led to the sea, the Stuff.co.nz website reports.
Aquarium manager Rob Yarrall says the tank's lid was left slightly ajar following maintenance work. "He managed to make his way to one of the drain holes that go back to the ocean and off he went - didn't even leave us a message," he tells Radio New Zealand. Staff later found "octopus tracks" which revealed Inky's escape route. The breakout happened earlier this year but only came to light in the national press on Tuesday.
While Inky's body is about the size of a rugby ball, he's considerably more squishy and can get through seemingly impassable spaces. "Even quite a large octopus, they can squeeze down to the size of their mouth which is the only really hard part of their body," he says. "It's a beak, very much like a parrot beak."
Of the aquarium's two octopuses, only Inky decided to take his chances on the outside, leaving his tank-mate behind. Mr Yarrell says it's the first escape he's experienced at the aquarium, telling the Hawkes Bay Today paper: "Yes, it's most unusual and yes, we'll be watching the other one."