Research Halted for the Day - Octopus steals bait


Staff member
Sep 4, 2006
From Octobot: 3 month old video posted by Lauren De Vos a research assistant at the University of Cape Town's Marine Research Institute, working on a survey of False Bay's fishes using underwater cameras.

Unfortunately the video cannot be embedded (still checking on how to get permission) but worth the watch. She has added comments to the video after the media attention an opened up iframe sharing but I could not find a link that works with VB. In the extended info she provided a link to the main project.

Thieving Octopus Unties Knots: Gotta-See Video
Researchers studying in False Bay, South Africa, were attempting to gather information on the underwater life there when an octopus swam up and stole their bait.

Visits by octopuses aren't rare, as a baited canister is a draw for many types of undersea life, but in this video (sped up for your convenience) you can see the octopus holding a shark at bay while it learns to undo three ties. Once the ties are free from the bait canister, the octopus has won the prize and swims away.

As the researcher said, "That's marine science for you, when even your best attempts are foiled by a creature that is far too clever."

Without the bait the science is over -- strictly speaking, but the show must go on for a few minutes.

Ceph found a better post about the project and the video. This post makes it appear that the octo's interference was not just stealing bait canisters :sagrn: I am still hoping to be able to embed it but have not heard back from the owner about a release.

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