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Rare octopus behaviour caught on camera!

Images show how opportunistic the invertebrates can be if they need to.

When Ginger Morneu took her brother to Victoria’s Ogden Point, she wanted to show him the best of the City – apparently, this giant pacific octopus wanted to plead a case too. 

Thankfully, Morneau had her camera to capture this cool moment in time!

“We noticed the sea gull and it looked like it was trying to eat something underwater,” Morneau, who’s only visited Ogden Point once before this, told  “We walked up closer and that’s when we realized the octopus was the predator, not the other way around.”

“The time-lapse between the first and fifth photo was just 53 seconds,” she added.

These aren’t just really cool pictures either.  For Jennifer Mather, who researches cephalopod learning and behavior, these pictures document extremely rare behaviour – she’s only heard of it twice.

“It shows how smart and versatile octopuses are,” Mather, who’s also a professor of psychology at the University of Lethbridge, told “They’ll even take advantage when a bird gets complacent.”

“It also reminds us that they’re opportunists – like we are,” she added.

It’s also interesting to Mather because these invertebrates don’t often come this shallow, near the air-water interface – raising questions about what opportunity led the octopus there in the first place.

“My guess would be that this octopus has learned that there’s stuff to be got right near the edge of the water,” Mather said.

In addition to being a popular walking area, Ogden Point’s also home to a marine sanctuary and a diving area – there’s also a dock a little further away.  If the people are dropping things in the water for the birds, it could be drawing the octopus – they’re that smart!

“The idea of an invertebrate getting-it-over a vertebrate tickles my fancy,” Mather said. “But, it should remind us that when we talk animals, we should talk about the invertebrates too.”

The brilliant colour of the octopus is evidence the creature was engaged in the kill – cephalopods like octopuses can control their skin colour, to some degree – and they’re actually pale when they’re relaxing.

Of course, to celebrate the awesome encounter, Morneau, along with her husband and brother, enjoyed their cephalopod relation, calamari.

Fortunately for us, her children want to head back soon, in hopes of getting their own cool show – of course we’ve asked her to send us the pictures if she’s fortunate to witness a similar event.

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