It’s World's Ocean Week! To celebrate the occasion let me share three funny stories about one of the most amazing and intriguing species of our oceans, The Octopus!
The first story sounds like the beginning of a Pixar movie, or possibly even a horror story. It was late at night at the National Aquarium of New Zealand, and someone had left a cage slightly open, just enough for the creature to slip his soft and slimy body through. The cage belonged to Inky the Octopus. And since he had no bones in his body, a little space was all he needed. He took advantage of the careless caretaker and crawled out of his cage, across the floor, down a 50 meter drain that led to the ocean, and off to freedom. He was never seen again… I’d like to think he’s off living life under the sea, with all the other beloved characters from our childhood movies, singing songs and laughing away.
Octopuses are notorious escape artists, as well as being highly intelligent and amazing problem solvers. And sometimes even a little mischievous.
The second story begins in the morning at the Sea Star Aquarium in Coburg, Germany. Employees arrived to find the electrical system shorted out and all the power off. They fixed the problem but then the next morning, they found the system shorted again. And then again the morning after that. Confused, a few employees decided to spend the night and see what was happening. What they found was Otto the Octopus. Otto had been trained to squirt water at aquarium visitors as a trick. But now he was climbing up the side of his cage and squirting water at the overhead lights, causing the short. Maybe he was bored or maybe he just thought it was good fun. No one knows for sure. The mystery of the lights had been solved, although the mystery of his motivation remained.
And for our final story we go to the year 1968 on a boat in Sardinia. Ringo Star, who played the drums for The Beatles, was on vacation and was served squid instead of the fish he ordered. The captain of the ship started telling him about how octopuses decorate their shelters with shells and other shiny objects, like creating “a garden”. Although we don’t think they are deliberately doing this to make their hideaways more homey, the story inspired him to go and write a song imagining life underwater – in an Octopus’s Garden.
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