Angry bored octopus goes wilding


45 Responses to “Angry bored octopus goes wilding”

  1. Stacyj says:

    @ #13 – are you telling us those people on HGTV aren’t angry and bored? Wait, so is it just those of us stuck watching them?

  2. Brainspore says:

    Let’s make a genetically modified one that doesn’t die by the age of three just to see what happens.

  3. Kieran O'Neill says:

    If these lived much longer than 2 years, I figure the dominant species on this planet would not be H. sapiens

    Nevertheless, although a meateater, I’m reluctant to eat cephalopods (for the same reason I’m reluctant to eat primates and cetaceans).

    And now for something completely different: Vampire Squids from Hell!!!!!

  4. Takuan says:

    there’s something to that in that the only animal that ever came close to killing me was an octopus.

  5. Gilbert Wham says:

    Shades of Charlie Sross’s Lobsters; give this feller some processing power, see what he comes up with.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like a nightmare roommate.

  7. Simon Greenwood says:

    Takuan, I now have this image of you walking down the street and being ambushed by an octopus with a flick-knife.

  8. Zombie says:

    So basically my old roommate was really an octopus? Makes sense I guess.

    Why isn’t he bored when the aquarium is open? Is it really just the people coming to see him that he loves so much? Which begs another question, why is he so interested in people? Maybe he’s studying them, trying to learn everything about them so he can one day blend in?

  9. OriGuy says:

    An idle tentacle is the devil’s plaything.

  10. BrerMatt says:

    Otto needs his own TV show.

    Maybe if he’s bored, they should give him 8 Rubik’s cubes.

  11. idodialog says:


  12. Boba Fett Diop says:

    Sea Otters do similar things in captivity (the behaviors related to shellfish simply can’t be turned off). Apparently, three orphaned otters in one of the west coast aquaria used to be master jail-breakers. I remember one of their keepers saying that if it could be unscrewed, pried open or gnawed off, they would do it.

    If the otters and the octopodes ever form an alliance, it’ll mean no more sea food for the rest of us, ever.

  13. GammaBlog says:

    They moved the 2000 watt light out of his range. Did they think of shading the tank or turning it the frick off, and letting him have some respite from the glare? This aquarium sounds like a panopticon prison.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Cool. Especially the juggling bit.

    If he electrocutes himself (is that even possible?) while squirting a light bulb, would he be eligible for a Darwin Award?

    Stagyar zil Doggo

  15. tomrigid says:

    @#22, Thank you. Amazing it took so long for someone to suggest they turn off the lights for a bit. If I were an octopus I might like some darkness.

    And a piano.

  16. erissian says:

    @32. Both octopuses and octopi are correct. Your pedantic office-mate should know that the English language borrows (or sometimes merely pretends to borrow) plenty of words from other languages, but that has never made us beholden to the grammar of those languages.

    I’m just saying, call him a know-it-all and knock over his coffee cup. For some reason, “the guy who studied an ancient language for 9 weeks” brand of pedant is the one the irritates me the most.

  17. GammaBlog says:

    I say, give Otto a remote control for the lights and see what happens. Give him a keyboard and see what he blogs.

  18. Angstrom says:

    if only his keepers read Boing Boing they would realise that Otto needs …
    1: a Mr Potato Head
    2: a Rubiks Cube
    3: a Seacoconut dress-up kit

    or, I might suggest a lady octopus.

  19. jedweb says:

    @#23, Thank _you_ for ‘And a piano.’ Hilarious.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Igpajo – put that Octopus on YOUTUBE! I want to see him juggling hermit crabs. That’s someone I wouldn’t want removed from my party!

  21. noen says:

    Protégé of yours Takuan?

  22. Strophe says:


    That’s octopa.

    Thus concludes my high-school Latin joke for the day.

  23. Halloween Jack says:

    Cthulhu awakens, needs coffee…

  24. igpajo says:

    I want video of him juggling the hermit crabs!
    Amazing how smart those things are.

  25. Daemon says:

    If something strange is going on after hours in an aquarium, it’s almost certain to have an octopus behind it. I think this is the third or forth variation on the “octopus does something to surprise his handlers” story I’ve read.

    Still, squirting the light, throwing rocks at the glass…. maybe he’s suicidal?

  26. Talia says:

    I absolutely love octopus/octopi/octopuses (and am amused by all the debate over proper pluralization).
    David Gallo gave a fantastic TED presentation about various neat forms of sea life, with quite a bit of video footage of cephalopods doing cool things.

    Its worth watching the whole 6 minutes:

    but if you want to see the part that just really made my jaw drop in total astonishment, go to about 4:20 and watch on…

    Nature, the best special effects.

  27. iopha says:

    I don’t suppose the thought crossed anyone’s mind over at the aquarium that Otto isn’t particularly happy being confined and maybe he should be released?

    (Now before anyone gets all ad hominem up in this threzzle, I am not a PETA supporter nor a vegetarian nor a moral sentimentalist of some odious stripe. It just seems clear Otto is bored and wants out and property or not, perhaps his will should be heeded.)

  28. Antinous says:

    The short-circuit had baffled electricians as well as staff at the Sea Star Aquarium in Coburg, Germany, who decided to take shifts sleeping on the floor to find out what caused the mysterious blackouts.

    So much for Teutonic efficiency.

  29. paulj says:

    I, for one, welcome our new Cephalopod… never mind…

  30. Takuan says:

    poor boy is just bored. Bridge is always good, just don’t double if he bids no trump.

  31. nanuq says:

    “It just seems clear Otto is bored and wants out and property or not, perhaps his will should be heeded.”

    Why would he want to leave when he has the tank redecorated to suit his tastes? I doubt he misses the natural predators he might face in the wild all that much.

  32. slowth says:

    This reminds me of a story I saw on Discovery channel of a marine biologist who studied octopus behavior.

    The biologist had many varieties of aquatic life scattered throughout his lab, including some very rare and expensive fish. The biologist noticed many of these rare fish disappearing overnight.

    How could this happen? All of the predators are segregated from the prey! Turns out the octopus masterminded an aquarium-break on a nightly basis, plopping itself on the floor, scooting across to another tank, and having a midnight snack, as it were. This devious little creature would then return to its own tank as if nothing happened.

  33. coldspell says:

    If something strange is going on after hours in an aquarium, it’s almost certain to have an octopus behind it. I think this is the third or forth variation on the “octopus does something to surprise his handlers” story I’ve read.

    My girlfriend’s sister used to work at aquarium. Some fish had been mysteriously “disappearing” from their tanks. One morning, they discovered the aquarium’s octopus, dead outside of his tank. Apparently, he had been climbing out of his tank, across the floor to pilfer fish from another tank. But this morning, he failed to make it back in time..

  34. Anonymous says:

    I want to be an octopus when i grow up.

  35. Ito Kagehisa says:

    Give Otto a gameboy or some internets, for cryin’ out loud.

  36. John H. says:

    Yep, I’ve got a cousin who told the pet shop story too. Must be rather common.

  37. Ernunnos says:

    Why is it that when an octopus engages with and modifies his environment to suit himself he’s angry and bored? Seems like pretty natural behavior for most creatures above a certain degree of complexity. Hence, HGTV.

  38. flosofl says:


    You missed octopodes. Which is the Latin pluralization according to my pedantic office-mate.

  39. flosofl says:

    Damn. I wrote “Latin” when I meant “Greek”.

  40. thelibrarianne says:

    Oh man. Reason #85,000,000 that octopi are awesome: juggling hermit crabs. I’ve been trying to prove to a friend that they are by far the smartest, funniest animals ever. And now I have proof.

  41. Santa's Knee says:

    As to the HGTV comments, I have only one thing to say:

    “Crab People”

    \that is all

  42. technogeek says:

    Someone needs a few Environmental Enrichment toys…

    I presume someone has done intelligence studies on octop’s [*]. Of course that’s a multiple-axis measurement, but I really should look up where they fall on the various scales. They seem to do pretty darned well for themselves; curiosity and determination will get you a long way. Given that they’re from an entirely different phylum, this may be as close as we ever get to interacting with a truly alien intelligence.

    [* I'm NOT going to get into the pluralization debate!]

  43. travelina says:

    Here’s a pretty excellent video of an Indonesian mimetic octopus which changes its appearance and behavior to mimic flounders, sea snakes, lion fish and more in order to escape predators (they are pretty much completely vulnerable in the open sea):

  44. Jerril says:

    I’d definitely suggest, if not giving him an off switch, giving him more materials suitable for creating a shaded environment for himself.

    This way he gets two benefits: one, control over his own lighting, and two, something entertaining to do.

    Give him some toys to play with, at least while the crowds are away for the winter. Change the toys up so he doesn’t get bored with them (I have to do this for my cats).

    Hell, give him a TV to watch if he was so entertained by watching the patrons… (but put it behind a plexiglass shield so if he doesn’t like it, he doesn’t short it out)

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