A Sneaky Octopus Escapes His Aquarium Tank, But How He Does It Will Boggle Your Mind

Since 2014, Inky the octopus had been enjoying life as a much-loved attraction at the National Aquarium of New Zealand. He had a big tank to swim in with an octopus friend, lots of good food to eat, and a pal named Rob Yarrall to see to all his needs. By all accounts, he was a happy octopus, but there was something that no one knew – Inky had been plotting a daring escape.

We’re not sure if a disgruntled staff member whispered the secrets of Finding Nemo to Inky or if he thought of the plan on his own, but Inky’s daring escape is straight out of the script of the Disney classic. What started as a normal evening quickly turned into the adventure of a lifetime when a staff member left the lid to the octopus tank slightly ajar. Inky knew this was the chance he’d been waiting for. He climbed out of his tank, made his way across the aquarium floor, and shoved his football-sized body into a six-inch drain pipe. Before long, Inky was swimming free in the Pacific Ocean. As Yarall said, “He didn’t even leave a note.”

How are we so sure of Inky’s route? While stealthy, he forgot to cover his tracks, and left behind suction cup prints that only could have come from a rogue octopus. We, like many other people online, have to applaud this brave octopus, but it’s important to note that Inky didn’t leave because he was bored or mistreated. In fact, the aquarium rescued Inky after he’d been caught in a crayfish pot and injured. As Sy Montgomery, author of The Soul of an Octopus told USA Today, “It doesn’t mean that Inky was unhappy with where he was. Astronauts don’t go to outer space because they don’t like Earth, they just want to see what else is out there.”

 It’s an interesting comparison, but one that makes a lot of sense. After all, if there was ever an octopus to break exploratory barriers, it’s Inky!

Meet Inky – the fugitive octopus. 

octopus escapes aquarium

Octopuses have long been known for their escape artist skills, as well as an ability to contort their bodies into extremely small spaces. While solitary creatures, they are inherently curious, and use their strong, muscular tentacles to explore the world around them. Although prolonged exposure to air would have put Inky at risk of drying out, the thin covering of slime on his body was enough to keep him moist until reaching the ocean.

Aquarium staff figured out Inky’s escape route by following his suction cup prints.

octopus escapes aquarium

It’s hard to believe that an octopus the size of a football could fit down that drain, but according to Montgomery “a 100-pound octopus can squeeze through an opening the size of an orange.” Now, THAT would be a viral video! As of yet, Inky has not returned to free his tank mate, but aquarium staff are keeping their eyes peeled for any sign of the fugitive.

To see more of Inky’s escape, check out the video below. 


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