On March 4, a video of an octopus’ daring escape attempt from the Seattle Aquarium became viral. In the video, the octopus was seen in its enclosure attempting to climb up the sides, with the help of its suction cups. The octopus almost succeeded, flinging both of its tentacles up over the edge, until an employee of the aquarium appeared and forced the octopus back into its giant enclosure. The visitors were left in awe by the escape attempt, and footage of the incident made the rounds in social media.
However, a spokesperson for the Seattle Aquarium explained that the octopus wasn’t escaping. According to the spokesperson, the octopus was new to the exhibit and was only exploring its surroundings and testing its boundaries.
The octopus’ name is Ink, and it’s a new acquisition for the aquarium. The Seattle Aquarium is known for cycling through their exhibits, bringing in new specimens while retiring the old ones by releasing them back into their natural habitat. The Seattle Aquarium released two of its specimens just last week. They’re known for regularly exhibiting examples of the Giant Pacific Octopus species commonly found in Puget Sound.
Some people are still disputing the aquarium’s claim that “Ink” was just exploring his new surroundings. Whatever the case, it’s been recently proven that octopuses are smarter than they let on. In an article for Orion magazine, Sy Montgomery wrote that “Octopuses have the largest brains of any invertebrate. Athena’s is the size of a walnut-as big as the brain of the famous African gray parrot, Alex, who learned to use more than one hundred spoken words meaningfully. That’s proportionally bigger than the brains of most of the largest dinosaurs.”
Montgomery also wrote that while octopuses sense the world differently than we do, they also exhibit surprisingly human behavior. “One octopus Mather was watching had just returned home and was cleaning the front of the den with its arms,” Montgomery wrote. “Then, suddenly, it left the den, crawled a meter away, picked up one particular rock and placed the rock in front of the den. Two minutes later, the octopus ventured forth to select a second rock. Then it chose a third. Attaching suckers to all the rocks, the octopus carried the load home, slid through the den opening, and carefully arranged the three objects in front. Then it went to sleep. What the octopus was thinking seemed obvious: ‘Three rocks are enough. Good night!'”
[Image via YouTube]