Inky the octopus has escaped his aquarium and made an eight-legged run (swim?) for the ocean. Although the breakout occurred a few months ago, the story is just now reaching the attention of much of the world.
The cepholapod was housed at the National Aquarium of New Zealand, from which workers were shocked to find he made an escape prior to heading to open waters. Inky apparently broke out of his enclosure and walked across the floor of the facility to a drainpipe. A worker at the aquarium discovered a wet trail leading to the makeshift exit. The animal apparently squeezed through the tiny hole and followed the pipe to wild waters.
"Octopus are very intelligent, very inquisitive, and like to push the boundaries. This particular one was very friendly and intelligent and obviously found a weak spot in the top of his tank," said Rob Yarrell, manager of the National Aquarium of New Zealand.
After Inky followed the 20-inch-diameter pipe normally meant to drain runoff of seawater, the animal likely landed in Hawke's Bay, where he rejoined the natural world. The creature was originally brought to the aquarium in 2014 by fishermen who accidentally caught him off the coast of Napier.
Octopus are extremely intelligent animals, able to make use of simple tools. They are also able to squeeze through small cracks and holes when they wish to leave their surroundings. When entering a small area, octopus are limited only by the size of their beaks, the only rigid segment of their bodies. Because of these abilities, the animals commonly escape artificial enclosures.
The pipe that provided the octopus with his escape route was roughly eight feet away from the aquarium. Aquarium officials believe the animal may have heard water rushing through the pipe, leading him to carry out his escape.
Inky was not in perfect health at the time of his breakout, suffering some injury to two of his limbs, and the absconding octopus also showed some scarring on his body, caretakers told the press.
Officials at the aquarium have told reporters there will be no attempt to recover the animal from the open ocean, and Inky is, once again, a free octopus.