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Truth or Urban Legend?

marrsgirl

Hatchling
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Jul 15, 2005
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1
I'm new here, and maybe this topic has already been discussed, but I ended up here while searching the web for an original article about the following story:
Somewhere in the murky recesses of my mind, I recall a story of an octopus who was sneaking out of it's tank at night, stealing crabs from a neighboring tank, and then returning to it's own. The setting was a laboratory of some sort, and the bewildered scientists solved the mystery of the disappearing crabs by installing a video camera.
The story stayed with me, but when searching for some evidence of it's truth, I only found it referenced in other articles in passing. And like an urban legend, the details changed in every retelling; the tanks were in a private home, or at an aquarium in Florida, where the theft was discovered by a night watchman, and it was lobsters that were disappearing. One web blogger stated that she saw this show "the other day" about this incident, when I have known of this story for years.
I never did find the original article.
Would anyone here be able to cite an original source for this story, or provide a link for it? Or just provide some proof that would debunk it as urban legend?
Many thanks!
 

Nancy

Titanites
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Hi marrsgirl and welcome to TONMO.com! :welcome:

This question has come up before on this website and it appears that it's not just an urban legend.

Have a look at this thread (start from the beginning)

urban legend

You can also search on "urban legend".

The most recent story of a similar escape come from Australia, an octopus named Stumpy.

He has had a colourful start coming into our home. We believe he was found in a rockpool in Western Australia, just before he was due to come over to us in NSW, we believe that he had escaped his holding tank to help himself to some crabs in another tank...on his way back to his tank, he climed into the wrong one and entered a shark tank - there was a bit of a commotion and he now has 2 short tenticles - which seem to be growing....then when my husband picked him up from our aquarium, he escaped the net he was being held in and was scurrying across the floor of the shop!
(Post by Benebehenry)

Nancy
 
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Dec 24, 2004
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I believe there was a TONMO member who named his briareus 'Houdini' because it escaped and was found crawling across the hardwood floor.
 

Jean

Colossal Squid
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Nov 19, 2002
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:welcome: marrsgirl

We had an episode like that at the aquarium I work in (although I think its relatively common!) Ours went after the Crayfish (Spiney rock lobster) in the next tank but one and was back in his tank by the 10.30 pm checks. The missing crays were put down to late night grad student meals (we're part of the Marine Science dept of Otago University) although they vigorously denied any wrong doing! One night the curator did the checks half an hour earlier and there was the culprit caught red tentacled!! The curator then had to eat humble pie with the grads who were (for once!) completely innocent!!

j
 
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Oct 7, 2004
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you sound as if you don't trust grads, mind to elaborate on what exactly happened before the "Blame-the-grads-on-crayfish-missing" inccident? :wink:
 

Jean

Colossal Squid
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of course I trust Grads CW I AM one after all! What happened was that the Crays were mysteriously disappearing during the night and the octopus was always found to be safely in his tank....so of course the thief couldn't possibly have been him! the theory was that grad students working in the lab after hours were having the crays for dinner!! But it twas the Octi!

J
 

DHyslop

Architeuthis
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I believe there's an iteration of this story in one of Dr. Woods' articles about ceph-keeping. I believe the setting was the apartment of two marine bio grad students, one accusing the other of feeding his octo during the night; until he got up late and found a wet trail across the wall to the feeder tank

Dan
 

Jean

Colossal Squid
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DHyslop said:
I believe there's an iteration of this story in one of Dr. Woods' articles about ceph-keeping. I believe the setting was the apartment of two marine bio grad students, one accusing the other of feeding his octo during the night; until he got up late and found a wet trail across the wall to the feeder tank

Dan
Yeah Dan, I think it happens comparatively often, some are I'm sure urban myths the only reason I know ours happened is that I've spoken to people involved plus the octi could take refuge in the tank inbetween so wouldn't be out of water all that long. Plus octis are known to leave their den to feed and return so if the octi considered one tank to be a den then it's fairly easy to explain the behaviour!

J
 

Neogonodactylus

Haliphron Atlanticus
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Mar 17, 2003
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I remain a complete sceptic regarding these stories. I have certainly had my share of escapes, but usually we find the wayword beast dried up in a corner covered with dust bunnies.

One thing that you have to ask yourself about these stories - and no I do not trust grad students - is where is the evidence. Give an octopus a reasonably large crayfish or crab and it will not eat it all, There will be some husk of an exoskeleton left. Yet these mystified biologists can't find the evidence. The crustaceans are missing, but where is the exoskeleton? It isn't in the octopus's tank. It isn't in the crustacean tank. I guess the grad students, aka sneaky octopus, buried it iin the back yard or put it down the garbage disposal.

Roy
 

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