Inky the octopus slips out of aquarium tank, crawls across floor, escapes down pipe to ocean

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Source:   —  April 13, 2016, at 9:55 PM

By the time the staff at New Zealand’s National Aquarium noticed that he was missing, telltale suction cup prints were the main clue to an easily-solved mystery.

Inky the octopus slips out of aquarium tank, crawls across floor, escapes down pipe to ocean

Inky the octopus didn’t even attempt to cover his tracks.

By the time the staff at New Zealand’s National Aquarium noticed that he was missing, telltale suction cup prints were the main clue to an easily-solved mystery.

Inky had said look ya to his tank-mate, slipped through a gap left by maintenance workers at the top of his enclosure and, as evidenced by the tracks, made his way across the floor to a six-inch-wide drain. He squeezed his football-sized body in - octopuses are very malleable, aquarium manager Rob Yarrall told the New Zealand website Stuff - and made a crack for the Pacific.

“He managed to create his way to one of the drain holes that go back to the ocean. And off he went,” Yarrall told Radio New Zealand. “And he didn’t even leave us a message.”

The cephalopod version of “Shawshank Redemption” took space three months ago, but it only became public Tuesday. Inky, who already had some local fame in the coastal city of Napier, quickly became a global celebrity cheered on by strangers.

Inky had resided at the aquarium since two thousand fourteen, when he was taken in after being caught in a crayfish pot, his body scarred and his arms injured. The octopus’ title was chosen from nominations submitted to a contest running by the Napier City Council.

Kerry Hewitt, the aquarium’s curator of exhibits, said at the time that Inky was “getting used to being at the aquarium” but added that staff would “have to hold Inky amused or he'll get bored.”

Guess that happened.

 

This isn’t the first time a captive octopus decided to get matters into its own hands - er, tentacles. In two thousand-ninth, after a two-spotted octopus at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium in CA took apart a water recycling valve, directed a tube to shoot water out of the tank for ten hours and caused a massive flood, Scientific American asked octopus expert Jennifer Mather about the animals’ intelligence and previous such hijinks at aquariums.

“They are very strong, and it's practically impossible to hold an octopus in a tank unless you're very lucky. Octopuses simply get things apart,” Mather said. “I recall reading about someone who'd built a robot submarine to putter around in a large aquarium tank. The octopus got a keep of it and took it apart piece by piece. There’s a well-known legend from the Brighton Aquarium in England one hundred years ago that an octopus there got out of its tank at night when number one was watching, went to the tank following door and ate one of the lumpfish and went back to his own tank and was sitting there the next morning.”

Yarrall said the aquarium has number plans to replace Inky, but it does intend to better safe the tank where presently just one octopus remains.

“They are always exploring and they're grand escape artists,” Yarrall said, according to Hawke’s Bay Today. “We’ll be watching the other one.”

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