Everyone’s been talking about this video of octopi picking up coconut shells off the ocean floor, cleaning them out, then using them as an armored hiding place.
It’s an impressive feat, but it’s not the first. There’s a small genre of videos of octopi evasive manuevers. They hide in other things we’ve thrown out on the ocean floor, like decaying shampoo bottles or beer bottles. They even got through this octopus obstacle course set up by National Geographic. They have been taped escaping fish markets in Tokyo and South Korea.
Many researchers have reported that octopi left in the lab at night will escape their tank, go eat another fish, then go back home to cover their tracks. Apparently they’re not smart enough to catch onto security cameras. Yet.
The Independent report that Portobello Aquarium in New Zealand had many such incidents and in one case just decided to release an escape artist octopus named Sid. Matthew Crane, Portobello’s senior aquarist, explained that people are just starting to realize how clever octopi are. “Some people compare them with dogs, because you can train them to open a jar, for instance, particularly if it’s got a crab in it.”
So, remember, the octopus isn’t dumb. That’s just what they want you to think.
Want to see some smart dolphins? Check out this animaltourism.com map and guide.