Inky, the prize octopus in New Zealand’s National Aquarium, has clambered from its tank in the middle of the night, slithered across the floor, dived down a 50-metre drainpipe and escaped into the open sea of Hawke’s Bay.
The New Zealand National Aquarium is a major tourist attraction in the North Island seaside city of Napier, known for its art deco architecture. Octopuses are the most intelligent of molluscs and can even use tools. It seems Inky was particularly bright.
Inky’s feat is being widely celebrated – the Guardian compared the escape to “scenes reminiscent of Finding Nemo” and the BBC carried the story prominently.
Inky, a common New Zealand octopus but with personality, made his freedom bid in the middle of the night when lid of his tank was accidentally left slightly ajar.
About the size of a rugby ball, but with eight arms, Inky slipped down the side of the tank, headed several metres across the floor and dived down the drainpipe.
Rob Yarrell, national manager of the National Aquarium of New Zealand in Napier, told the Guardian: “Octopuses are famous escape artists.” Inky was friendly, inquisitive and highly intelligent, he added.
Being molluscs, octopuses have no bones so can slip through extremely small spaces.
The National Aquarium was the first in New Zealand to hatch a turtle egg and in 1980 it hatched the world’s oldest living tuatara hatched in captivity.
Written by Peter Needham