Inky The Octopus Breaks Out Of Aquarium, Makes Way To The Pacific

This June 12, 2013 photo shows a female octopus, at least one year old, that lives in a tank at the APU labs in Grant Hall in Anchorage, Alaska. Alaska Pacific University scientist David Scheel and his students have... This June 12, 2013 photo shows a female octopus, at least one year old, that lives in a tank at the APU labs in Grant Hall in Anchorage, Alaska. Alaska Pacific University scientist David Scheel and his students have been studying the giant Pacific octopus in Prince William Sound and Kachemak Bay for nearly 20 years. (AP Photo/Anchorage Daily News, Marc Lester) MORE LESS
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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Inky the octopus waited until it was dark and the staff had gone home from the National Aquarium of New Zealand before making his move.

He squeezed and pushed his way through a tiny gap in the mesh at the top of his tank and slithered 2 meters (6.6 feet) to the floor. Then he made a beeline across the room to a drain hole.

With a body the size of a rugby ball, Inky managed to stretch out and squeeze into the hole. From there, he shimmied down the 50-meter (164-foot) pipe until he was back in the Pacific Ocean.

All he left behind three months ago was a slimy trail, allowing staff at the Napier aquarium to re-create his amazing escape.

He’s not been seen since.

Inky’s story begins on Pania Reef, several hundred yards (meters) out to sea from the aquarium. He was pulled up by a fisherman in a lobster pot and wasn’t in good shape. He’d been attacked, probably by a snapper or some other fish, and a couple of his tentacles were half their normal length.

After a year recuperating at the National Aquarium, said manager Rob Yarrall, Inky was once again in good health. And he’d been delighting the staff with his intelligence.

“He used to come up and you could hand-feed him,” Yarrall said. “He’d grab hold of you with the suckers on his tentacles, or squirt water at you. And he worked out how to screw the top off a jar.”

Yarrall said that since they have no bones, octopuses can squeeze through almost any hole that’s larger than their beaks, so the drain hole, 15 centimeters (6 inches) wide, was no great challenge.

After Inky escaped, the aquarium staff figured out what happened, admired his cleverness, wished him the best and went back to work. No one thought to publicize the story until Robyn McLean, communications manager for the Napier City Council, heard about what happened this week. She told a local reporter, and before long she and her small staff had fielded more than 100 calls from international media.

“It shows how we should never take animals for granted,” McLean said. “The humble octopus is a very, very intelligent creature. He thought this one out and he nailed it. So, go Inky.”

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Notable Replies

  1. Avatar for meri meri says:

    “He also smashed open a piggy bank on his way out, so he’d have spending money.”

  2. Congratulations, Inky!!

    I hope to join you in a few months in the event of a Cruz or Trump electoral victory!

    :octopus: :ocean:

  3. "And, in a final display of insolence, he used a piece of chalk left lying on the floor to crudely scrawl the message:
    “sO loNg aNd tHanKs for aLL tHe fiSh.”

  4. Years ago when I was at an Aquarium on the East Coast we had an escape artist octopus. He usually escaped into the back-up area behind the tanks and we’d find him on the ceiling or in another tank. The animals are very intelligent, perhaps the most intelligent of the invertebrates and made to survive. They don’t do well in captivity though so it’s a good thing this one found a way out.

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