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A Gull-Eating Octopus in Victoria, BC
April 28, 2012 6:31 PM   Subscribe

An octopus eats a bird.
posted by jjray (77 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is really a great little story. I don't think I would've wanted to rescue the gull, as Ginger did, and I'm oddly glad the octopus won.
posted by smorange at 6:39 PM on April 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


Damn nature, you... are GROSS.

I love octopi and that is an extraordinary thing right there, and the miraculous wonders of the planet and stuff, but bllleeeaaahhh. So glad that is not a video.

Maybe it's just the thought of anything eating a seagull. They look so graceful and majestic from far away, but once they get even remotely close you can tell they are made entirely of poop and garbage and screaming.
posted by louche mustachio at 6:47 PM on April 28, 2012 [44 favorites]


So glad that is not a video.

So sad it's not a video.
posted by jjray at 6:49 PM on April 28, 2012 [16 favorites]


Gulls are assholes. Go octopi.
posted by christopherious at 6:49 PM on April 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


Holy crap. There's something you don't see every day. Respect to you, Mr. Octopus.
posted by Artw at 6:50 PM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Day 34:
I have collected the wings of a gull and brought them to my underwater grotto for closer inspection. Once I, Dr. Octopus, have worked out the secret of flight, there will be nothing keeping my people from world domination!
posted by Avelwood at 6:50 PM on April 28, 2012 [54 favorites]


Seagulls are gross. They are just big pigeons. They love to eat garbage and it's all the fault of humans .
posted by swooz at 6:50 PM on April 28, 2012


Yeah, I thought it was interesting that Ginger wanted to rescue the gull too... isn't it a wonder how some of us want to help save the "prey" from the predators, unless the predators are beautiful majestic lions, then throw them another Thompson's Gazelle!
posted by Ron Thanagar at 6:51 PM on April 28, 2012


Jonathan Livingston Glug Glug Glug.
posted by Artw at 6:51 PM on April 28, 2012 [20 favorites]


I don't think I'm ok with the idea of vicious mollusks.
posted by ryanrs at 6:54 PM on April 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Seagulls are gross. ... They love to eat garbage

Well, to be fair, so do humans who, you know, eat at McDonald's.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:08 PM on April 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


Seagulls are gross.

True fact, but! When the gulls fly far enough inland to garbage-pick in the supermarket parking lot*, you know there's a big storm coming.

*Varies based on parking lot location

Gulls: Disgusting AND weather-predictive!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:08 PM on April 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


"To commemorate witnessing and photographing this amazing event, Ginger, Ken and Lou went out for a calamari lunch."

It's the CIR-cle of LI-i-ife...
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:12 PM on April 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Whoa. Yeah, that's the cycle of life right there. Go octopus.

I hate gulls. They are really freaking hard to identify.
posted by gingerbeer at 7:18 PM on April 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


gulls are vicious
posted by sineater at 7:25 PM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


True fact, but! When the gulls fly far enough inland to garbage-pick in the supermarket parking lot*, you know there's a big storm coming.


There's always a big storm coming at the K-Mart on Lake Street.
posted by louche mustachio at 7:30 PM on April 28, 2012 [9 favorites]


Blue Light Special?

I am a little frightened of octopodes, but I hate gulls worse, so this pleases my gull-hating heart. Also I bet the gull started it.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:35 PM on April 28, 2012


> True fact, but! When the gulls fly far enough inland to garbage-pick in the supermarket parking lot*, you know there's a big storm coming.

The gulls on the Gulf Coast fly inland quite frequently, even when it's calm offshore. I think they're just expanding their turf.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:38 PM on April 28, 2012


This is pretty great. It's disturbing and gross and fascinating all at once to see something like this (I've witnessed river otters drown and eat pelicans a number of times; I'm always horrified and can't look away).
posted by rtha at 7:39 PM on April 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


The cosmic ballet goes on.
posted by fijiwriter at 7:48 PM on April 28, 2012


I can't help but feel that this is closely related to the previous post about an 'existential threat' wiping out humanity. "Dr. Bostrom had just finished overseeing the installation of the new asteroid-deflecting technology when, tragically, a newly-evolved Temperate Forest Octopus grabbed him from behind..."
posted by Sing Or Swim at 7:52 PM on April 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: made entirely of poop and garbage and screaming
posted by sourcequench at 8:08 PM on April 28, 2012 [11 favorites]


They're smart, they're tool-using, they're strong - basically made of muscle - so if not for their short lifespan and lack of a way to pass knowledge across generations they'd be a credible menace.
posted by Artw at 8:12 PM on April 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


Temperate Forest Octopus...ahem!
posted by Confess, Fletch at 8:17 PM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is about two blocks from where I live.... *shiver*
posted by KokuRyu at 8:18 PM on April 28, 2012


Well, as I say, if an octopus were to traverse those two blocks and feast on the tasty, tasty flesh of your face, humanity would still be Sade as it would have no way of telling other octopi of the tastiness.
posted by Artw at 8:24 PM on April 28, 2012


Squibbon
posted by Artw at 8:27 PM on April 28, 2012


> So sad it's not a video.

Right? I came here looking for an SLYT and left disappointed.
posted by ostranenie at 8:40 PM on April 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


RIP
posted by 200burritos at 8:42 PM on April 28, 2012


>so if not for their short lifespan and lack of a way to pass knowledge across generations they'd be a credible menace.

What we need is some apocalyptic short fiction about somebody teaching an octopus ASL.

Further prompt: the octopus is named Caesar. Anybody? Come on, don't make me write it myself.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 8:45 PM on April 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


if an octopus were to traverse those two blocks and feast on the tasty, tasty flesh of your face, humanity would still be Sade

Choose your own autocorrect joke: (a) Yes, because the octopus is such a smooth operator! (b) 120 Days and 8 Tentacles of Sodom, eh?

Grigori sez hi
posted by RogerB at 8:55 PM on April 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


100% cheering for the octopus here. That was well done, underwater ally.
posted by eritain at 8:56 PM on April 28, 2012


They're smart, they're tool-using, they're strong - basically made of muscle - so if not for their short lifespan and lack of a way to pass knowledge across generations they'd be a credible menace.

They appear to be smarter than crows, and that's saying something. In one of our various octopus threads about a year ago, I saw an octopus doing a decent job imitating a lionfish.

Big deal, right? Well, lionfish are an invasive species. They're big spiky fish with really nasty venomous spines. They're taking over oceans all over the world, because predators only try to eat them once. So at least one octopus is sophisticated enough to run through something like this chain of reasoning:
  1. Lionfish are dangerous.
  2. My predators will not eat lionfish.
  3. If I look like a lionfish, my predators won't eat me.
  4. Lionfish swim in open water, slowly, without a care in the world.
  5. Therefore, I should change my coloration to match a lionfish, form my body and tentacles to look very much like its body and fins, and then act just like one, swimming majestically about in the open water, instead of scuttling from rock to rock like usual.
The sheer number of things you have to have going on in your head to make that work is amazing. You have to understand predator behavior, and then lie to them. And it's not like the octopus evolved to imitate lionfish, with millions of years of trial and error, gradually looking more and more convincing. Rather, it saw lionfish and figured it out.

As I've said here many times now, I absolutely will not eat octopus or squid. They're slimy and alien, but by god, with that kind of brainpower, it's just wrong to eat them.

I've seen claims that if they lived longer (say, 20 or 30 years, instead of 3 or 4) they'd probably have primitive civilization of some kind.
posted by Malor at 9:07 PM on April 28, 2012 [40 favorites]


Poor gulls:
Other gulls flew overhead, noisily checking out the scene as if to see if there were going to be any scraps, but disappeared once the victim had been pulled from the surface.

Or, you know, it might be that they flew overhead singing songs of great sadness, mourning their comrade in flight, composing ballads to she-of-the-silver-wings; and they left only when there was no hope that she might escape the tentacles of doom.

But since the author is either a mind reader or insanely prejudiced against seagulls, sure, they were cannibals who came to grab at any gobbets of flesh that the noble cephalopod chose to leave from his midday repast.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:09 PM on April 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'll watch out for that one the next time I dive at Ogden Point.
posted by carfilhiot at 9:19 PM on April 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't think I'm ok with the idea of vicious mollusks


*GLARE*
posted by The Whelk at 9:36 PM on April 28, 2012 [19 favorites]


"But since the author is either a mind reader or insanely prejudiced against seagulls, sure, they were cannibals who came to grab at any gobbets of flesh that the noble cephalopod chose to leave from his midday repast."

It's also possible that the ones circling overhead were the blood-enemies of the one in the water, circling while joyously watching their enemy being crushed and driven to the deeps before them.

Afterwards, they flew off to hear the lamentation of their women.

They may indeed be noble animals that can mourn the loss of a beloved partner, friend, and colleague - but they also possess a sufficiently great clarity of thought to realise that when you don't know where your next meal is coming from, one source is as good as any other.
posted by Pinback at 9:40 PM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm with The Whelk, we aquatic lifeforms must unite against our terrestrial/aerial enemies.

There is no underwater branch of the Cabal
posted by arcticseal at 9:41 PM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whelks aren't vicious.
posted by ryanrs at 9:43 PM on April 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


they are when you try to take away their knob creek
posted by elizardbits at 9:45 PM on April 28, 2012 [12 favorites]


Gruuu
posted by The Whelk at 9:46 PM on April 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Whelks aren't vicious.

He once menaced a pigeon.

It is not unusual for a whelk only an inch long to be able to extend its proboscis a foot or more. The radula is located near the end of the proboscis just behind the mouth, and by extending the proboscis, the mouth can be pushed into a burrow or tube to tear apart and eat the animal living within. ... These animals cannot eat anything but slurries of flesh and blood.
Whelks by Ronald L. Shimek, Ph.D. - Reefkeeping.com
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:01 PM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whelks aren't vicious.

He once menaced a pigeon.

Sir Whelk; who had nearly stood up to the vicious Chicken of Bristol...
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:12 PM on April 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is fascinating. In this book about Cortes Island, which is sort of near to Victoria, the author recalls, if I have it right, that when she was a girl growing up on the log floats and docks around the islands, the old timers were wary of leaving small children alone on the dock because of the octopus. They claimed they would come out of the water and take small animals. It's easy to read that as 'old wive's tales'. Until you see a story like the one posted here.

Another interesting detail I recall from this book is that one of the author's chores as a young girl was to row out and net herring. Which she was very good at. Because she had the ability to smell where they were balled up under water!
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 10:43 PM on April 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Choose your own autocorrect joke:
Hah, I was actually sitting there thinking if there was a Sade scene involving tentacles or something. Wouldn't really be too surprising.
posted by Locobot at 10:54 PM on April 28, 2012


When the gulls fly far enough inland to garbage-pick in the supermarket parking lot*, you know there's a big storm coming.

I live nearly 1200km inland and there are seagulls EVERYWHERE.
posted by asnider at 11:17 PM on April 28, 2012


My inherent fear of mollusks is now validated and totally enhanced.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 11:39 PM on April 28, 2012


*ominous chuckle*
posted by Earthtopus at 11:42 PM on April 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


" I live nearly 1200km inland"

Possibly near a lake or large river?

I'm 800 miles from the ocean and we have gulls on the nearby river. Fishing birds too, like bald eagles.

(If you're 1200 km from all water sources, I guess you're on the way to the moon? But I'd believe there are gulls in space as long as someone, at some point, dropped a French fry there. Those trash-eating jerks will go anywhere for a French fry.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:28 AM on April 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Waiter, my tako tastes like chicken." Or garbage.
posted by Napoleonic Terrier at 12:41 AM on April 29, 2012


Well I went scuba diving yesterday, second time in my life, and I'm so hapless at it, it's easy imagine a not-particularly-big-or-strong octopus snagging my mouthpiece and ... Thanks for the nightmares, Metafilter.
posted by newdaddy at 12:43 AM on April 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


They're smart, they're tool-using, they're strong - basically made of muscle - so if not for their short lifespan and lack of a way to pass knowledge across generations they'd be a credible menace.

But now I know they are willing to eat seagulls, I have serious questions about their intelligence.

OK, YOU SEA A SEAGULL. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT?

a) Run away!
b) YUMMY!
c) Don't steal my sandwich!
d) Gross.


B is not the correct answer.
posted by louche mustachio at 1:18 AM on April 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seagulls are gross. ... They love to eat garbage

Well, to be fair, so do humans who, you know, eat at McDonald's.

There is no folly of the beasts of the earth which is not inifintely outdone by the madness of men. (Quote from "Moby Dick".)
posted by WalkingAround at 1:30 AM on April 29, 2012


Although they live only about four years

what
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:50 AM on April 29, 2012


Well, to be fair, so do humans who, you know, eat at McDonald's.

Also to be fair, eating humans is pretty gross too.
posted by louche mustachio at 1:59 AM on April 29, 2012


I've never had to watch for thieving octopodes when down at the beach with a sandwich or pizza (yet). I've seen seagulls eating octopus, so fair's fair I suppose.

My memory is that the Ogden point octopus (whichever generation of it we're on now) is generally friendly to divers, so maybe it's learned about our anti-seagull tendencies and is trying to show how friendly and helpful it can be. Then, when we're lured into our false sense of security, it too will begin trying to steal our pizza.
posted by Salmonberry at 2:02 AM on April 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


First they came for the birds and I did nothing...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:13 AM on April 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think this is what you all came here to see.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 3:55 AM on April 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


True fact, but! When the gulls fly far enough inland to garbage-pick in the supermarket parking lot...

I'm with asnider -- North Dakota is home of the Geographic Center of North America (as far inland as you can go before going...outland?), and there's a while lotta gulls here. In fact, we just bought oyster crackers to feed the geese, ducks, and gulls in Fergus Falls today.
posted by AzraelBrown at 5:39 AM on April 29, 2012


A squid An octopus eating dough a bird in a polyethylene bag is fast and bulbous, got me?

I think this is what you all came here to see.
Also, I do not think that bird is try to eat the octopus. I think it is trying to make "special friends" with it.
posted by drlith at 5:44 AM on April 29, 2012


Oh my God, you people spell "mollusc" with a k. I feel quite unwell, now. I still haven't really recovered from "skeptic" yet.
posted by Decani at 5:52 AM on April 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dr Johnson has it as "skeptic", and the Oxford Dictionary has both "mollusc" and "mollusk" as well as "sceptic" and "skeptic". Just be thankful that we lost the spelling "mollusque".
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:07 AM on April 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was actually sitting there thinking if there was a Sade scene involving tentacles or something.

...I got confused which Sade you were talking about and spent several seconds trying to rewrite hentai lyrics to The Sweetest Taboo.

you know it would work
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:08 AM on April 29, 2012


Wow. 'Marquis de Sharday' opens up a lot of darkly alluring avenues of thought. BE RIGHT BACK.
posted by TheRedArmy at 7:00 AM on April 29, 2012 [1 favorite]



My inherent fear of mollusks is now validated and totally enhanced.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 11:39 PM on April 28 [+] [!]


Eponysterical!
posted by peagood at 7:20 AM on April 29, 2012


I rarely feel much sympathy for seagulls, but insofar as they are aware of the world, that must have been kind of nightmarish from the point of view of the bird.

I have long ago realized I am classist in the biological sense of "class." I just feel more at home with mammals. I get the idea of dogs and cats and hamsters as pets, but the appeal of a bird* or a snake around the house eludes me. And if I were to be eaten by a wild animal, I would be okay with a wolf or tiger eating me, but being digested by a shark or a crocodile seems somehow incorrect.


*Except, of course, for Bongo.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:34 AM on April 29, 2012


And if I were to be eaten by a wild animal, I would be okay with a wolf or tiger eating me, but being digested by a shark or a crocodile seems somehow incorrect.

I completely agree. After that incident a couple of years back where teenagers at a zoo were teasing a tiger, prompting it to attack them, and it had to be put down, I explained to my friends (joking, but kinda-not-really) that if I'm killed by a lion/tiger/bear/pack of wolves, rather than putting the animal down for just doing what's in its nature, it should actually be granted full legal recognition as my heir: it ate me, therefore it has superseded me. It gets my 401k, my Xbox, by books, etc. And all my coworkers should be prepared to have a snow leopard come in one day, plop down in my cubicle, give a depressed sigh at what its life has now become, and start hitting deadlines.

But, and the caveat is vital: the offer only applies to mammals.*

*Non-human mammals, before anyone gets any ideas.
posted by Amanojaku at 10:43 AM on April 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


cthulu fhtagan
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 11:33 AM on April 29, 2012


Mei's lost sandal: This is fascinating. In this book about Cortes Island, which is sort of near to Victoria...

I'm glad to hear you mention Cortes. I grew up in LA and spent my summers with family on Cortes, where I got a lot of the outdoor life that city dwellers don't. I don't have much to add about octopuses, but I have lots to reminisce over about Cortes. I spend most of my days missing that place.
posted by lostburner at 12:16 PM on April 29, 2012


I didn't get where Sade came from, either, but my guess is that Artw's computer/tablet/phone autocorrected whatever his mistyping of "safe" was to Sade.

Because I love that Artw probably types "Sade" more often than "safe". Sweeeeet-est tabooooooo.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:40 PM on April 29, 2012


I'm a smooth operator.

/ has no idea how that happened.
posted by Artw at 12:50 PM on April 29, 2012


that image of the tentacles and wings in the water is simply gorgeous.
posted by lapolla at 5:28 PM on April 29, 2012


/notifies A Cell of identification of a potential cultist.
posted by Artw at 5:33 PM on April 29, 2012


Jesus Christ!
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:58 PM on April 29, 2012


"So they built in a fail-safe device."
"Which is what?"
"Four-year lifespan."
posted by Mister Moofoo at 3:10 AM on April 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


100% cheering for the octopus here. That was well done, underwater ally.

I am pretty sure the seagull was eaten raw. The octopus has many achievements, but fire remains beyond their ken.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:18 AM on April 30, 2012


I am pretty sure the seagull was eaten raw. The octopus has many achievements, but fire remains beyond their ken.

I bet they have barbecues by the hydrothermal vents.
posted by orme at 9:32 AM on April 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


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