By lifting the cover of his tank, creeping across the floor, fitting himself down a tight conduit, and fleeing into the water, Inky the octopus escaped from the New Zealand National Aquarium.
Inky, a male common New Zealand octopus, escaped his habitat after the lid was left ajar and made his way to freedom via a conduit going to the sea, according to aquarium staff.
“Octopuses are legendary escape artists,” said Rob Yarrell, national manager of the National Aquarium of New Zealand in Napier.
“However, Inky put himself in a position to test the waters here. I don’t believe he was unhappy or lonely because octopuses are solitary creatures. But he’s such an inquisitive young man. He’d be curious about what’s going on outside. That’s simply his demeanor.”
Yarrell and his colleagues were able to figure out Inky’s escape route by tracking the wet trail he left behind when his absence was noticed. Inky had apparently moved the lid of his habitat, slipped three or four meters over the aquarium floor, and then into a 50-meter-long (165-foot) drainpipe heading directly into the sea, thinking freedom was nigh.
“I was pretty astonished when we walked in the next morning and his tank was empty,” Yarrell said, adding that they had not initiated a hunt for Inky.
“My coworkers and I have been depressed. But then, this is Inky, and he’s always been a bit of a shocker.”
Reiss Jenkinson, an exhibits keeper at the National Aquarium, was adamant that Inky had not been “taken” or “stolen.”
“I have a good understanding of octopus behavior,” he remarked. “I’ve seen octopus sneak through bilge pumps on vessels.” And no one would kidnap Inky because the security here is too strong, and why would they?”
Check out this octopus escape from a boat via a seemingly insurmountable hole. Magic.
The fact that octopuses have no bones allows them to squeeze into exceedingly small areas. They’re also noted for being incredibly clever and tool-savvy. According to Yarrell, Inky was a “unusually clever” octopus.
Inky’s successful breakout was described by James Wood, a marine researcher, as “none of this is shocking or abnormal of octopus behavior.” “Octopuses are incredible animals with a high level of intelligence.”
Octopuses have been known to break out from sealed observation containers and locked tanks, according to Wood. He said that an octopus in Bermuda had escaped on several occasions to eat the occupants of surrounding aquariums.
Ozymandias, a different octopus, is reported to have set a world record for opening a container before being released into the sea.
A local fisherman spotted Inky captured in a crayfish pot and took him to New Zealand’s national aquarium a few years before his escape.
Yarrell described him as afraid and “rough-looking,” with shorter limbs. “He wasn’t in the ideal form because he’d been living on the reef and fighting with fish.”
Although the aquarium was not actively looking for a successor for Inky, Yarell stated that if another octopus was brought in by a fisherman, they could be prepared to take it on.
“You never know,” he said in the end. “There’s always the possibility that Inky will return to us.”