His tank was left open. This was the golden opportunity Inky needed to set his escape plan afoot.
In the dead of night, the octopus clambered over his glass enclosure, scurried three or four metres across the aquarium floor and sprung himself into the 50-metre drain pipe that would take him back to the ocean.
No, that isn't the beginning of a new Disney movie — that is the story of how an octopus escaped the National Aquarium of New Zealand earlier this year.
The staff were surprised when they came in the morning following Inky's breakout, they found an empty tank and prints that suggested his escape route. "He managed to make his way to one of the drain holes that go back to the ocean, and off he went,” Rob Yarrell, national manager of the aquarium told Radio New Zealand. "Didn’t even leave us a message."
Even though Inky departed three months ago, it's only coming to light now.
Photo of Inky on the National Aquarium of New Zealand's Facebook page.
"Octopuses are famous escape artists," Yarell told the Guardian.
He's not wrong. The Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science published a whole article about it in 2004 called "Interspecific Evaluation of Octopus Escape Behavior." The paper, written by James Wood starts "Written records of octopuses leaving the water have existed for over 2,000 years to the time of Aristotle." So octopi have been out-smarting humans basically since time immemorial.
Inky may have gone in search of a better life but he will be missed. "The staff and I have been pretty sad. But then, this is Inky, and he’s always been a bit of a surprise octopus," Yarell said to the Guardian.
Inky joined the aquarium two years ago when a volunteer fisherman brought him in.
Even though he's gone, the staff have no intention of replacing him and remain hopeful. "You never know. Inky could come home to us," Yarell said.But it seems Inky prefers the internet. It didn't take long for a few parody accounts to spring up.
— Inky (@Inky_theOctopus) April 13, 2016
Or for people to start talking movie deals.
— Inky the Octopus (@Inky8Legs) April 13, 2016
Or set up a pedestal for him.
— Blair Kroeber (@BlairKroeber) April 13, 2016
this octopus is a hero of freedom https://t.co/ZXVYSBLX1V
— Laura Hudson (@laura_hudson) April 13, 2016
Or wonder what his motivations were.
— Julie Klausner (@julieklausner) April 13, 2016
— April Wright (@aprilmwright) April 13, 2016
Or, finally, worry for our future.
#InkyTheOctopus just wanted to find love...😍😆
— Michelle Arellano (@westsidegypsy) April 13, 2016
I don't eat octopus bc I'm not convinced they won't one day rule the earth & have detailed records on who ate what https://t.co/ybWaJ9Glmz
— Sam Greenspan (@samlistens) April 13, 2016
— Melissa Ponzio (@MelissaPonzio1) April 13, 2016