Inky's Daring Escape Shows How Smart Octopuses Are

The fleeing of a mollusk from a New Zealand aquarium has captivated the world. Here’s how he did it, and what it means.  


Inky the octopus while he was still at the National Aquarium in New Zealand.

An octopus at New Zealand's National Aquarium made a break for freedom by slipping out of its tank, slithering down a drainpipe and escaping into the ocean earlier this year.  

Inky, a male common New Zealand octopus, escaped his enclosure through a small opening. He slid across the floor during the night and squeezed his body through a narrow pipe leading to open waters.

“He was very inquisitive and liked to push boundaries,” says Rob Yarrell, the manager of the National Aquarium of New Zealand.

Yarrell and his team noticed Inky’s disappearance three months ago, and were able to figure out where their charge had disappeared overnight by following the wet trail he left behind. Inky had managed to move the lid to his enclosure, which he shared with another octopus.

Although not fully grown, Inky had reached adult size, says Yarrell. Inky’s story has been trending worldwide since his escape became public knowledge, which surprised staff at the Aquarium.

“We did not expect that much interest at all from around the world, we thought it was just a story...

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