‘Inky’ the Octopus Makes a Break for It

Inky the Octopus

There’s something about a good jailbreak that captures the human imagination. Maybe it’s the cunning derring-do of the escapee; maybe it’s our own longing to break free. Add eight arms to the getaway and people really become entranced.

Have you ever heard of an escape from an aquarium back to the ocean? (And no, Nemo and gang doesn’t count.)

Recent news of the daring escape of “Inky,” an octopus formerly on exhibit at the National Aquarium of New Zealand, captured news media and the internet by storm. He was originally brought to the aquarium as an injured animal. Though rehabilitated animals are generally released back into the ocean, Inky had made his own decision when he thought he was well enough to go home. “We did not expect that much interest at all from around the world; we thought it was just a story for the locals,” said Rob Yarrell, manager of the aquarium to National Geographic in a recent interview.

Inky’s escape path was easily discovered by aquarium staff: They followed his wet trail from the small opening in his enclosure, across the floor, and into a narrow pipe leading to the ocean. It’s not uncommon for an octopus to be curious and want to explore its surroundings, and the aquarium staff said that this particular octopus was no exception. They also have the amazing natural ability to fit through spaces the size of a quarter!

Can you imagine it? Inky waiting until he was alone (maybe after the lights were out and the “guards” left), scooping himself out of the water (possibly while it was raining out, so he wouldn’t be heard), and then running to freedom via the nearest exit — a pipe. How very Shawshank Redemption of him.

Yarrell and his staff do not plan to pursue the tentacled absconder; they merely wished him well on his travels.

See the National Geographic article: Inky’s Daring Escape Shows How Smart Octopuses Are

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