It's no mystery in the scientific community that octopuses are very intelligent, but now New Zealand's National Aquarium has witnessed this fact firsthand. After spotting his chance to escape in a gap at the top of his tank, Inky the escapologist octopus has freed himself from the aquarium and made his way into the ocean.
After making his way out of the gap at the top of his tank, Inky continued across the floor and into a seawater runoff pipe, which connects to Hawke's Bay and beyond.
"Octopus are very intelligent, very inquisitive and like to push the boundaries," said Rob Yarrell, the manager of the National Aquarium of New Zealand. "This particular one was very friendly and intelligent and obviously found a weak spot in the top of his tank."
Inky was donated to the museum by a local crayfisherman who caught him off the coast of Napier. Inky was intended to be a credit to his species, the common New Zealand octopus.
"While he was with us, he would have learned a lot," Yarrell said. "He was the type that was inquisitive, and a bit wiser than we thought."
The aquarium team has no plans to search for Inky, who they believe is most likely back to traversing the seafloor.
Yarrell doesn't think that Inky was unhappy or lonely, instead chalking up his escape to his naturally curious nature.
"I don't think he was unhappy with us, or lonely, as octopus are solitary creatures," he said. "But he is such a curious boy. He would want to know what's happening on the outside. That's just his personality."
Inky, like all octopuses, was able to escape due to his ability to squeeze through small spaces by altering his body shape. The only part of an octopus that restricts its ability to get through tiny spaces is its beak, which is the only rigid part of its body.
"He managed to get out and two-and-a-bit meters (around 8 feet) away was a drain which he managed to escape through," Yarell said, adding that the sound of water in the pipe is likely what pushed him to devise his escape.
Cephalopods - any member of the molluscan class cephalopoda - possess a level of intelligence and problem-solving ability that makes them great escape artists. Numerous pieces of footage that demonstrate these abilities have surfaced over the years, including the one below, which depicts an octopus escaping through a small hole.