08 October 2012

Video: Cunning octopus commits theft!

Octopuses are wily and intelligent creatures
It is said that an octopus is as intelligent as a domestic cat, but if the video below is anything to go by, it is clearly also as crafty.

Belonging to the mollusc family (along with snails, mussels, squid and cuttlefish), the octopus is blessed with a number of tools to help it outwit many of its predators and, it seems, its fellow ocean friends, as can be seen below.

The octopus in this video, shot by an underwater camera in False Bay, steals an entire bait canister, which was attached with three cable ties, and performs this marvellous feat while fending off a pyjama catshark.

Octopuses have a strong beak, similar to that of a parrot, which they use to tear their prey. Wouldn’t it have been great to see the role its beak played in undoing the cable ties?

The footage was shot earlier this year as part of research undertaken by the University of Cape Town, but researchers only recently took note of the cunning octopus.

In an interview with the Cape Times newspaper, research assistant Lauren de Vos said: “We were flummoxed by how clever they are, smart enough to unclip the bait canister, which is not easy, and we’ve had several pieces of equipment stolen. We’ve got it all on film.”

We feel a little sorry for the pyjama catshark and the other fish that lucked out on the bait treasure but, hey, better luck next time, guys!

For more information on the fascinating common octopus, read up on the species here.

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