Inky the Octopus wanted out, and he wanted out really, really badly.
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Inky was a resident at New Zealand's National Aquarium, and he made a hero’s journey from tank to ocean. All that he left behind? Telltale suctions cups.
Inky was able to escape his tank thanks to a gap left by maintenance workers at the top of his enclosure. From there, he made his way across the floor to a six-inch-wide drain in the floor. His body, which is about the size of a football, down the drain thanks to his malleable body.
Rob Yarrall, aquarium manager, talked to the website Stuff, and explained more:
“He managed to make his way to one of the drain holes that go back to the ocean. And off he went,” Yarrall said. “And he didn’t even leave us a message.”
This magical escape took place three months ago, but it was only made public yesterday.
Inky had been a resident at the aquarium since 2014, after he was caught in a crayfish pot and harmed. With his body scarred and arms injured, he was taken to the aquarium. There was even a contest run by the Napier City Council to name him.
Apparently he had a reputation around the aquarium. Kerry Hewitt, the curator of exhibits at the aquarium, said that Inky was "getting used to being at the aquarium," but people who worked at the aquarium would "have to keep Inky amused or he will get bored."
Octopus expert Jennifer Mather spoke about the animals’ intelligence and previous such hijinks at aquariums.
“They are very strong, and it is practically impossible to keep an octopus in a tank unless you are very lucky. … Octopuses simply take things apart,” Mather said. “I recall reading about someone who had built a robot submarine to putter around in a large aquarium tank. The octopus got a hold of it and took it apart piece by piece. There’s a famous story from the Brighton Aquarium in England 100 years ago that an octopus there got out of its tank at night when no one was watching, went to the tank next door and ate one of the lumpfish and went back to his own tank and was sitting there the next morning.”
Yarrall said the aquarium has no plans to replace Inky, but will work to secure the other one.
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“They are always exploring and they are great escape artists,” Yarrall said. “We’ll be watching the other one.”