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Gregarious Octopus Floods Aquarium
February 26, 2009 9:07 PM   Subscribe

Octopus chaos. The Santa Monica Pier Aquarium's gregarious and curious two-spotted octopus plays with tank filter resulting in the release of hundreds of gallons of seawater flooding the facility. FLICK pix here.
posted by azul (72 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
See octopi? This is why we can't have nice things.
posted by Science! at 9:12 PM on February 26, 2009 [9 favorites]


This pleases me.
posted by Rinku at 9:18 PM on February 26, 2009


From Science!'s link:

A spokesman said: "It was a serious matter because it shorted the electricity supply to the whole aquarium that threatened the lives of the other animals when water pumps ceased to work.

It sounds like the electricians at the aquarium might investigate something called "circuit breakers" and the concept of separating critical circuits from more general circuits like lighting. Indeed, I think in most of the US the lights and the outlets in rooms cannot be on the same breaker by code.

I kinda hope Octopi are the next dominant lifeforms. They're cool.
posted by maxwelton at 9:21 PM on February 26, 2009


“Our best guess is that the octopus, who is incredibly gregarious and curious, tugged on a valve in her tank last night causing a steady stream of water to overflow out of the tank. We’re estimating we lost a few hundred gallons of sea water onto the Aquarium floor,” Emhiser said.

But by 9:30 a.m. when the school bus rolled into the parking lot, the public portion of the Aquarium was back in order, mopped up and ready to accommodate an eager group of first-graders and their teachers. There to greet the group was the two-spotted octopus, still active in her tank, seemingly oblivious to the havoc wreaked just hours before.


Yes...seemingly oblivious.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:26 PM on February 26, 2009 [20 favorites]


I thought this post was gonna be about that time Nadya Suleman's water broke.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 9:30 PM on February 26, 2009 [8 favorites]


I've heard a story that maybe apocryphal. There was an aquarium which was having trouble with fish vanishing out of one of their tanks. So they set up a surveillance camera. One morning when there were yet more fish missing from that tank, they looked at the surveillance footage.

What they saw was an octupus from a neighboring tank which had moved its cover, crawled out and across the floor and gotten into the tank of fish, presumably caught and ate some of them, then crawled back to its own tank and put the cover back in place.

I find that completely plausible. Octopi are amazingly intelligent.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:12 PM on February 26, 2009



It sounds like the electricians octopi at the aquarium might investigate something called "circuit breakers" and the concept of separating critical circuits from more general circuits like lighting.



Indeed.
posted by louche mustachio at 10:21 PM on February 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm no octopus expert, regretfully, but maybe it was trying to send them a message that it doesn't appreciate being crammed into such a small friggin' tank.
posted by Miastar at 10:21 PM on February 26, 2009 [9 favorites]


shock troops for the zombie cephalopod apocalypse...
posted by kliuless at 10:45 PM on February 26, 2009


Octopi sure are cute.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 10:51 PM on February 26, 2009


she was probably trying to get the hell out of there.
posted by nudar at 10:51 PM on February 26, 2009


gregarious and curious = desperate to escape captivity
posted by bonefish at 11:10 PM on February 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


Squid > Octopi
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:15 PM on February 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Octopi are my heroes. I don't eat heroes.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:19 PM on February 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I, for one, welcome our new cephalopod overlords...
posted by gofargogo at 12:05 AM on February 27, 2009


christ what a blowhole.

i know it doesn't quite make sense but roll with me here.
posted by Hat Maui at 1:29 AM on February 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


that's exactly what the giant squid said to the sperm whale.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:40 AM on February 27, 2009


Is that white cube with the porthole-like viewing window the entire aquarium for the octopus? It looks rather small and dull for the occupant.
posted by BinaryApe at 1:49 AM on February 27, 2009


Octopi are my heroes. I don't eat heroes.

They would totally eat you, though. They'd say "Lookit that pretty lady NOM NOM NOM NOM"
posted by louche mustachio at 2:46 AM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not all octopi are quite so gregarious.
posted by Elmore at 2:49 AM on February 27, 2009


Where was that... no, not here... lemmesee... not here either (that's a PDF,btw)... not this... ah Ha! here. And check out the 'related story - "Date with death..."

yeah, these are links I collected for that post I didn't put up...
posted by From Bklyn at 2:58 AM on February 27, 2009


octopus crawling on the beach
posted by ryanrs at 3:24 AM on February 27, 2009


I'd try to break out too if someone confined me to life in a tumble dryer.
posted by MuffinMan at 3:43 AM on February 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


A while back, I was watching a documentary about a group of scientists studying octopuses that lived on the underwater shores of an Italian volcano. It seems that the octopuses could sense eruptions coming and knew to get out before rocks started rolling at them down the slopes, and these scientists wanted to figure out how they could tell.

They managed to capture an octopus and put it in a covered tank on their boat, leaving it overnight so they could do a few experiments in the morning. (Nothing gruesome--seeing how it reacted to subsonic vibrations and that sort of thing.) Anyway, in the middle of the night the scientists heard a banging, splashing, splattering series of noises and rushed to go see what was going on.

It turns out that the octopus had thrown the cover off its tank, climbed out, and was industriously crawling to the back of the boat, where there was a ladder for scuba divers. It heaved itself over the edge and plunged back into the ocean, and I can only imagine it was burbling the octopus equivalent of "I'M FREE, YOU FUCKERS!".

I haven't eaten octopus sushi since I saw that.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 4:02 AM on February 27, 2009 [13 favorites]


Octopi are truly phenomenal! One of my favorite scuba dive memories is encountering one hanging out in the mouth of an old piece of 3" PVC pipe, he had collected various pieces of rubble and when approached retreated back into his hidey-hole pulling the chunks of coral and stones in with him to form a perfect plug over the front of the pipe. What was most amazing was the way that all the pieces fit together like a puzzle to form an almost seamless cover to the pipe.
posted by Bango Skank at 4:06 AM on February 27, 2009


Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu Rl'yeh wgah'nagl fh'tagn.
posted by kldickson at 4:26 AM on February 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


yeah, the octopus at the aquarium in newport, oregon apparently used to climb out of his tank at night and wait by the front door for people to come in the morning.
posted by snofoam at 4:27 AM on February 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also, read Pharyngula.
posted by kldickson at 4:28 AM on February 27, 2009


Brilliant story. I for one etc etc.
posted by WPW at 4:50 AM on February 27, 2009


Say it. Say you welcome our cepholopod overlords. SAY IT.
posted by louche mustachio at 5:09 AM on February 27, 2009 [6 favorites]


Do not fuck with octopi. Seriously.
posted by odinsdream at 6:06 AM on February 27, 2009


I totally, totally welcome our cephalopod overlords. I'm ready. I have a whole collection of various octopus toys with which I could quickly create a sort of altar to their superior intelligence. And let's face it, a beanie baby octopus is pretty cute.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:08 AM on February 27, 2009


When you are basically just brain and tasty meat but no defense wandering the ocean among countless hungry fish, that brain is gonna have to get get smart to survive.
posted by dabitch at 6:20 AM on February 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


There seems to be some confusion about the gender of the Santa Monica Octopus-- the flickr account says "his tank" while the press release says "her tank". The AP report in my newspaper this morning referred to it as a "tiny female". She didn't look very tiny in the photographs. Wait. Is there some sort of mind-clouding going on here? Perhaps the ocotopi are playing with our perceptions? Perhaps they are multi-gendered monstrosities with 42 arms!
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:24 AM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Do you think, once they've flooded the entire Earth and enslaved us all, that they'll feed us our starvation-rations only in jars? Just for laughs, I mean.
posted by steef at 6:26 AM on February 27, 2009


The octopus story I like the best is from a couple years ago at the Seattle Aquarium. There was a tank there with some sharks in it, but they kept dying overnight. It was pretty obvious one of their tankmates was to blame because of the chunks missing out of them. Anyway, the keepers set up a camera to record what was going on and caught one of their Pacific Giant Octopi grabbing the shark as it swam by and completely fucking it up.

I think this is the video, but it's blocked at work so I'm not sure.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 6:28 AM on February 27, 2009 [6 favorites]


They're sort of like gremlins, but instead of not feeding them after midnight, you don't let them get bored.
posted by tommasz at 6:33 AM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I love stories like this.
UNDERESTIMATE INVERTEBRATES AT YOUR FLOOR'S PERIL
posted by Busithoth at 6:42 AM on February 27, 2009


Wasn't there also a story about an octopus in a tank that had a light shining into it that the octopus didn't like... so it squirted water into it to short it out. Took the owners a few lights before they set up a camera and caught it in action.

so octopi are good shots as well. We are _so_ doomed.
posted by djrock3k at 7:12 AM on February 27, 2009


we are so doomed
posted by chinston at 7:13 AM on February 27, 2009


!
posted by chinston at 7:14 AM on February 27, 2009


Clearly, their strategy of human demoralization is working.
posted by chinston at 7:15 AM on February 27, 2009


If octopi were flying down in their 8-rotored aquachoppers to destroy my village, what music would they choose to accompany the fatuous bombast of their superior but hopelessly vulgar technological mastery?

I for one love the smell of sushi in the morning.
posted by aesop at 7:34 AM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


two-spotted octopus plays with tank filter

No. Around here that's spelled TankFilter.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:52 AM on February 27, 2009


yeah, the octopus at the aquarium in newport, oregon apparently used to climb out of his tank at night and wait by the front door for people to come in the morning.

Did he wear a little "Hi! My Name Is Blibdoolpoolp" door greeter tag?
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 8:04 AM on February 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


Apparently, I've talked about octopus a lot here. And I find that oddly reassuring, because when the day comes, and they have taken over and are ruling us with an iron tentacle, I can point to this fact and say "But I've always been on your side! It's the other humans you want to use as food, not me!"

Because let's face it, we have one that figured out how to flood an aquarium and another who determined how to short a circuit. Can mass electrocutions be far behind? I think not.
posted by quin at 8:08 AM on February 27, 2009


Did he wear a little "Hi! My Name Is Blibdoolpoolp" door greeter tag?

Must... Fight... Urge... To... Say...

Gah! Blibdoolpoolp is female, and not an octopus! NOT AN OCTOPUS! She's a 20 foot tall nude female with LOBSTER CLAWS! Totally fappable!

Ok, maybe nobody noticed. Yeah, my secret is probably safe.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 8:39 AM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


They would totally eat you, though. They'd say "Lookit that pretty lady NOM NOM NOM NOM"

Flagged as tentacle porn.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 8:42 AM on February 27, 2009


Free the Octopi! Those cages were seriously small.
posted by kanewai at 8:45 AM on February 27, 2009


Am I the only one getting serious laundromat vibes from that white rectangular tank with round windows?
posted by mismatched at 9:09 AM on February 27, 2009


Octopi are both smart AND tasty. They're the pigs of the sea!

(sorry, new cephalopod overlords...you are welcome to nom on my arm, but I don't think I'd make very good sushi)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:28 AM on February 27, 2009


Heh. Reminds me of the story of the octopus that would pop out of it's tank to munch on the crabs in the the next tank, then pop back again before any noticed. Octopi are cool.
posted by Artw at 9:36 AM on February 27, 2009


And that totally reminds me of that one octopus who squirted water at the light to short it out and no one knew what was happening until they caught it on video.

It seems like there's only three good octopus stories out there?

I guess since no one's posted this yet, how about video of the mimic octopus?
posted by bDiddy at 9:41 AM on February 27, 2009


Yuck. I posted a link to a blog with an embedded youtube video. I should have paid better attention.
posted by bDiddy at 9:42 AM on February 27, 2009


There's that video of an octopus that fucks over a shark, that's quite cool.
posted by Artw at 9:42 AM on February 27, 2009


OCTOLOOP!
posted by Artw at 9:43 AM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've had the opportunity to pet the little reef octopi while diving in Hawaii a few times. They feel amazing! They're not always in a curious mood, but if they are and you approach very slowly they'll wrap themselves around your arm for a minute and check you out, and you can very gently touch their tentacles and the side of their head. It's like having your blood pressure taken by a cute little cloud of awesome.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:46 AM on February 27, 2009 [9 favorites]


And they've nearly won an Oscar too.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:03 AM on February 27, 2009


Baby Squid, Born Like Stars
posted by kliuless at 10:25 AM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Coincidentally, I was listening to the Justice track Stress as I watched the video Elmore linked. It went a little something like this. For maximum dramatic emphasis, start the octopus video 15 seconds after the song starts.
posted by clockwork at 10:37 AM on February 27, 2009


I for one welcome our new NOT ON YOUR LIFE MUSTACHIO! HA!
posted by Jilder at 10:40 AM on February 27, 2009


Good thing these monsters only live for a year. Imagine what they would be able to master in 10 or 20.

There is a dedicated forum for people who keep them as pets. Some people have managed to breed them, but the typical story is of someone spending thousands of hours and dollars setting up a habitat, raising the octopus, getting all excited when the octopus starts recognizing them and starts answering to its name (where 'name' can be a particular flash card, a pattern of knocks on the tank, etc...), teaching it a few tricks, realizing how smart it is, growing incredibly attached to it (they are at least as lovable as puppies) and finally getting their hearts broken when they find it dead one morning of no apparent cause.

I would love to try my hand at breeding them, but I'd feel bad if I did not have like a trillion gallon tank with fresh seawater pumped in from paradise every morning and fresh food flown in from the best sushi bars in the world. I would honor the dead ones with a yearly octopus feast.
posted by dirty lies at 6:03 PM on February 27, 2009


I am strangely comforted by all of this.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 9:33 PM on February 27, 2009


And I thought the robots were going to take over.
posted by madh at 12:19 AM on February 28, 2009


I guess it's up to me to post the obligatory cephalopod link again...

"And just when I thought things couldn't get any more freaky, their cephalopod friends showed up. I was like, what, AAAHHHHH!"
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:59 AM on February 28, 2009


Aw... cuddlefish!
posted by Artw at 1:03 AM on February 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I guess it's up to me to post the obligatory cephalopod link again...

Agent K: "Jeebs! You sold a reverberating carbonizer with mutate capacity to an unlicensed cephalopod? You piece of …"

Jeebs: "He looked OK to me."
posted by bwg at 2:20 AM on February 28, 2009


Octopi: Flash red, gurgle, twist, bubble, short bubble flash red

*TRANSLATION*

Octopi: BUWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
posted by The Whelk at 6:00 PM on February 28, 2009


This story came up in my stumbleupon recently. Actually about squid, but it seemed relevant.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 7:38 PM on March 1, 2009


These threads always go pretty much the same way, but I love them every time.

Damn octopus are cool.
posted by paisley henosis at 9:12 AM on March 2, 2009


Cute but sad Dumbo octopus
posted by kliuless at 7:43 PM on March 3, 2009


More on octopi in small areas.
posted by Science! at 9:37 AM on March 6, 2009


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