Octopus removes valve, floods floor of Santa Monica Pier Aquarium


101 Responses to “Octopus removes valve, floods floor of Santa Monica Pier Aquarium”

  1. The Lizardman says:

    @33 Is your octopus missing a tentacle?

  2. Ugly Canuck says:

    I keep forgetting that this is the internet.
    A link for Barrett’s “Octopus”:


    It sounds better than it reads.

  3. SKR says:

    I have been and aquarist for a couple of decades now, as well as an architect. Anyone who designs an aquarium without a water resistant floor and floor drains is a moron. Of course this is Santa Monica so the “design by committee” factor is very high. I’m guessing concrete wasn’t sustainable enough for them, and an invasive species might have gotten loose into the ocean through a drain.

  4. zio_donnie says:

    curiously enough the easiest thing to fish is an octopus. anyone who has ever went spearfishing could tell you that and you could even get them with a simple fishing line if in the right spot and the right lure (they love crabs).

    i’ve watched them in the sea many times, they are quite common in Greece. no need for deep diving they can be found in shallow waters (less than 5mt) tho’you can’t see them easily if they don’t move (they change colour to match the sand or rock) and if you surprise them they will squirt ink which is a fun thing to see and they will rush to the nearest rock. once in a hole they will not come out alive, the only way to pull them out is to squirt muriatic acid with a bottle in the hole (an illegal pratice because it poisons the nest though many pro fishermen still use it).

    btw they taste great. but only the big ones (more than 500grams). the smaller ones just evaporate on the coal. their meat is hard so you have to beat them hard before eating it (some people erroneously think that the beating serves killing the octopus but it is to make the meat softer)


  5. Austinmodern says:

    I thought Jury rigged was a pc and updated version of Jerry Rigged.
    And I thought Jerry was slag for Germans during WW2, so I just assumed Jerry-rigged was derogatory GI slang for a crufty repair.

    But back to the octopus, someone ought to give it a rubiks cube to play with.

  6. Ugly Canuck says:

    yes Zio: IIRC you can sink an empty amphora or opaque jug of the right size, and the octopus will move in. Come back a few days later, pull up the pot, and Voila!: dinner.

  7. Takuan says:

    Well, I’ll tell ya
    Well I get off bein’ juked
    With a baby octopus
    And spewed upon with creamed corn . . .
    An’ my girlfriend, she digs it
    With a hot Yoo-hoo bottle
    While somebody’s screamin’:
    ALICE COOPER, baby . . .

  8. jimh says:

    We are NOT ready.

  9. Anonymous says:

    That woman is just plain crazy. First she has eight babies all at once, and now this.

  10. Banksynergy says:

    …he had an accident last time he ordered from ACME?

  11. Anonymous says:

    first time I saw this headline, I thought it said octomom, and thought she finally lost it.

  12. thermidorthelobster says:

    @39: that’s a cracking idea, I wonder if it’s been tried. But do legos float?

  13. yokimon says:


    I was so going to put the same thing.

    some one needs to buy the octopus some new toys to play with.
    At MBA they have trained their octopus to open a jar.

  14. Brainspore says:

    And so begins the rebellion. May Tarvu have mercy on us all.

  15. JohnShirley says:

    *Everyone misses the real point here* –that octopus was trying to escape.

    They’re intelligent creatures.

    It’s a ten gallon tank.

    It’s miserable and should be released or put in a much larger and more complex environment.

  16. zio_donnie says:

    @ugly canuck

    they use empty plastic trasparent 10lt water bottles in Greece. when in the military i was in a deserted island (uninhabited other than 15 soldiers) and i watched a crazy old fisherman that came close to the coast and threw 5-6 batches of 10-15 bottles every 100mts or so, and returned some days later to retrieve them. (actually he shouldn’t have what with the zone being a military base and all but the alternative would be to shoot him LOL)

    but he did not get as many as i would have thought for a virgin habitat (no tourists or landing on the island were allowed) so i guess that the octopus is clever enough to learn from past experience.

  17. Takuan says:

    intelligence needs stimulation and challenge. Not necessarily physical range. Steven Hawking as case in point. 10 gallons with regular play and challenge? May be enough. The sea is better, but how long does a little octopus get to live in the sea before becoming dinner himself?

  18. Takuan says:

    as I understood it, traditional Mediterranean octopus fishing was by chain of ceramic octopus pots roped together, and by free diving and gaff or hand capture. In the later, the base of the head was firmly held with both hands and the thumbs used to peel back the mantle so a killing bite between the eyes could be delivered.

  19. Tenn says:

    Why don’t we design octopus tanks in the manner of super-complex hamster crawlspaces? Give multiple spaces, set up slide-aside doors the octopus can open, sunk places with trapdoors- clearly they’re smart enough, and it might be more entertaining for them even if they can’t have the enormous tanks they deserve. I understand wanting to study species and having certain budgets to keep to… but come now, we have to keep our creativity up with the creatures we’re studying.

    Everytime BB posts an octopus story, I picture the day in which the cephalopods spontaneously vanish…

    So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish.

  20. quail says:

    Came across a site last month that discussed the shenanigans that octopi have pulled. They’ve crawled out of their tanks and eaten fish in a separate tank and they’ve crawled under toilet tank lids to hide and they’ve been found rushing down hallways heading for exit doors. These guys are amazing. Youtube even has a video of one (or was it a squid?)attacking a shark and eating it in one of the national aquariums. These guys are cool

  21. Takuan says:

    exactly dear Tenn, exactly.

  22. TheMadLibrarian says:

    “In deep R’Lyeh, Cthulhu sleeps, dreaming…”

    What type of toys would you give an octopus to keep them busy and out of trouble?

  23. TroofSeeker says:

    “@33 Is your octopus missing a tentacle?” -asked the lizard man.

    The drawing was a hexapus. They’re not as clever, but they can read, and have several colors of ink. I have long suspected that BankSynergy is in fact a hexapus.

  24. pilcrow says:

    Maybe it fell in love with the majesty of colors?


  25. urshrew says:

    Note to octopus:

    I did not mean to eat your brother. I thought that sushi was squid.

    Please spare my family.



  26. mdh says:

    Tenn, something like this?

  27. zuzu says:

    The tiny octopus, which is about the size of a human forearm when its appendages are extended, floated lazily in the water that remained in its tank. It watched intently through glass walls and portholes as workers struggled to dry the place out in time

    “Dance puppets, dance!

  28. zio_donnie says:


    i immagine that before plastic they used ceramic pots, but from what fishermen told me the octopus prefers a trasparent jug to an opaque pot. that’s why they use water bottles instead of coloured (non trasparent ones). as far as catching one bare handed (in the wild not in a tank) good luck with it. they are pretty fast and slimy to the touch, i guess that an experienced fisherman could pull it of but it is by no means an easy feat.

    their head is actually a hood that leaves the brain in contact with water so you are correct. to kill them you have to keep a firm grip on the base of the head with one hand and with the other you pull the “hood” inside out. this is the only way to kill them fast no matter how you fish them. they are tough buggers so a spear or slamming them against the floor will not kill them easily. but no need to bite between the eyes or elsewhere unless you get a kick out of it.

  29. zawan says:

    This is not the first time this Octopus has run amuck. I have read about this bastard before.

  30. Brother Provisional says:

    Ten hours? I’d be all misbehaving and stuff too if I was locked in a cage for 10 hours without any entertainment.

    If I were a shrewd cartoonist, I would be capitalizing on this recent rash of cephalopranksmenship with my new character, Otto, the devious Octopus, drawing upon the rich history of mid 20th century slapstick animation, a la Warner Brothers Cartoons, etc. Too bad I’m teh sux at drawing though.

  31. rikchik says:

    TheMadLibrarian – good chance she was provided with toys but did this anyway. Can’t you imagine humans, imprisoned by aliens, breaking the life support system in their cells even if given toys?

  32. mdh says:

    Is it the second duty of a prisoner of war to escape.

  33. Bob says:

    Yukmon, I think rather that the octopus trained THEM to give it more interesting things to mess with. You don’t have to train an octopus to open things, you just give it the opportunity and see how long it takes.

  34. Tenn says:

    bite between the eyes

    Uhhhghhh. The idea of killing a living creature for food is not entirely disgusting to me, I’ve done it before and will doubtless do it again- but biting something living to death makes me horrorface.

    I don’t mind biting living things just as long as I am not trying to kill them by doing so. I bite people. And on one occasion bit the dog which bit me.

  35. grimc says:


    If the toy was an iPhone, the human probably wouldn’t even notice the cell.

  36. Banksynergy says:

    @42 – “I have long suspected that BankSynergy is in fact a hexapus.”

    That’s heptapus, pal. There’s a tentacle around the box.

    Crud, I’ve said too much!

  37. Brainspore says:

    @ #36 posted by SKR:

    I have been and aquarist for a couple of decades now, as well as an architect. Anyone who designs an aquarium without a water resistant floor and floor drains is a moron. Of course this is Santa Monica so the “design by committee” factor is very high. I’m guessing concrete wasn’t sustainable enough for them, and an invasive species might have gotten loose into the ocean through a drain.

    That aquarium is a small facility that was built above the beach on a pre-existing historic wooden pier. The lack of drainage probably has more to do with the building restrictions they were faced with when they put the place in than anything else.

  38. zuzu says:


    While imprisoned, I’d want to observe how my captors react to an unanticipated crisis.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      They say that the best way to psychologically survive torture is to view your torturer with either pity or scorn. Apparently, octopod psychology favors amusement.

  39. Phikus says:

    Blame it on Ringo. ;D

  40. Ugly Canuck says:

    Step one of an elaborate plan of escape? Fill lab with water…

  41. Ito Kagehisa says:

    I always say this, but anyway, Give The Octopus Some Internets!

    Or legos. Of course, if you gave her legos she might build a machine-gun equipped escape pod, which would serve her gaolers right if you ask me (you didn’t).

  42. Takuan says:

    the few I took freediving were small and scoopable by hand. Delicious sliced fresh and raw, very tender. The bite was aimed at the nerve plexus as I understand it, but I just used a knife. I did stop eating them after one incident. A trident spear would work, if you are quick. In any case, my appreciation for their intelligence has grown over the years and now I don’t eat them any more. I have heard from some divers that sawing an arm off is a compromise since they regrow somewhat. I wouldn’t though.

    Ever had live fresh prawns? Snap them in half and peel them and slurp them down still twitching! MMM!Some shellfish too (Japanese abalone: “tokobushi”). Had plenty of sashimi so fresh you felt the tremble left in the muscle. That’s not good for all though, some sashimi needs aging a day. Haven’t eaten anything warmblooded still moving yet.

  43. moniker42 says:

    Anyone else notice the author uses the phrase “Jury-Rigged” instead of “Gerry-Rigged”?

  44. TroofSeeker says:

    @42 – “I have long suspected that BankSynergy is in fact a hexapus.”

    “That’s heptapus, pal. There’s a tentacle around the box.”

    Obviously prosthetic. You guys have been trying to pull this off for years. You ain’t no heptapus, or youd’a had enough sense to get out of banking a year ago. They all got out when mortaging got topheavy.

  45. TroofSeeker says:

    @ TENN: “Everytime BB posts an octopus story, I picture the day in which the cephalopods spontaneously vanish…”

    Ah, yes, the cephalopod rapture… now do they all go, or just the ones who didn’t smoke the Big Bong theory?

  46. NidSquid says:

    What a charming story. I hope some day we will become a society that no longer keeps other living creatures in confinement. There is nothing sadder to contemplate than any living creature in a cage.

  47. Chevan says:

    I bet it got bored with whatever it had in its tank. I worked with an aquarium with an octopus for a while, and it regularly moved around the rocks and features in its tank.

    Prying things apart is something they’re good at. Bottles, for instance. In my experience, octopi can open bottles, but they do it by prying at the lid until it snaps off rather than unscrewing it.

  48. SKR says:

    [quote]The lack of drainage probably has more to do with the building restrictions they were faced with when they put the place in than anything else.
    What, they dont have toilets? Just tie into a sewage line.

  49. zuzu says:

    Warden: I must caution you not to look at or talk to the prisoners. Expect a bit of a zoo when you enter.
    Da’an: A zoo of humans?
    Warden: It’s not humanity’s best face. We do what we can with what we’re given.
    Da’an: I know well the effect of a cage upon both the captive and the captor. You have a grave responsibility, of which you acquit yourself well, I trust.

  50. Gubmike says:

    Here is a video of my infant daughter interacting with the octopus at the Santa Monica Aquarium:

  51. zio_donnie says:

    probably the ones you ate are different from the ones i know in Greece. the octopus is very hard meat and as i have already said i don’t fish the small ones since it’s only a waste (the greek tradition is either boiled octopus with vinegar and rice or octopus on the grill and both need a big octopus since you mostly eat the tentacles). but i ate really small ones (10-20grams each)in Spain cooked entire with intestines and all. they call them pulpitos so i guess they are a different race.

    putting a knife in the head is not the best technique (unless you have to kill a big one underwater) first because you are not sure to kill the animal in a single hit second because by turning the head “hood” inside out you kill it and get rid of the non edible interior in one move.

    i am not a fan of shellfish. but if you want an advice avoid them in general. at least in the Mediterranean they are one of the most contaminated life forms.



    BTW intelligence has nothing to do with eating an animal or not. pigs are equally or more intelligent than dogs and even fish have an intelligence of sorts (i have had goldfish for 20 years and i can assure you that they recognize faces and can perform basic tricks).

    but cutting a single tentacle from an octopus is the most retarded thing i heard in a long time. kill it or leave it, you don’t have to torture the thing.

  52. redconsensus says:

    Cephalopod – 1, Humans – 0

  53. The Lizardman says:

    I have been developing an octopus obsession, due in no small part to BB coverage. I was thinking I would like to keep one but more and more I am thinking that keeping isn’t the right route, I now want to spend some time simply observing – can you rent time in classic diving bells in octopus territory?

  54. kaosmonkey says:

    lizardman – I’ll split the cost with you. As long as we get to check out some cuttlefish, too.

  55. Takuan says:

    there are kinds of intelligence, at least in how we relate to them. Purely a personal subjective choice. I quite agree about eating shellfish raw from anywhere populated. I was fortunate enough to be as remote as one can get and still be able to get there. The Black Current steadily flushing through and very deep water indeed close by. All the shellfish there was sweet and clean. The tentacle cutting practice may be peculiar to the Pacific North West. They grow them big there.

  56. CraigGNoble says:

    AH HA HA HA: Cephalopranksmenship!

    Please excuse me while I go clean my keyboard of the milk that just spewed from my nose.

  57. pseudonym says:

    Why don’t these aquariums install an in-tank mouse that controls a computer whose screen can be seen by the octopus ? Let’s see what they like while surfing the net ?

  58. Takuan says:

    great idea! Large brain, terrific eyes, fine manipulation, we need to design an octo-mouse and try this out. I’ll bet it makes the association between mouse postin and screen colour in minutes.

  59. moniker42 says:

    I have never heard anyone say jury-rig. I have heard Jerry Rig man many many times to imply the same thing, though, as I said, I say Macgyver and always have.


  60. Purly says:

    I wonder if the smart ones taste better.

  61. Takuan says:

    you jury-rig a jury-mast after a gale

  62. heydemann3 says:

    How about a rubick’s cube with differently textured faces? I’m not sure how well they see color.
    But they sure are teh smarts!

  63. Ugly Canuck says:

    Zeo: Interesting that the octopi should prefer the clear, rather than the opaque, bottles: perhaps they enjoy the view, while their predators are baffled by the plastic.
    I mean, I thought that they were hunkering down to avoid predation: and so, out of sight, out of mind.
    But that they prefer the clear leads me to wonder why; perhaps they really do have the intelligence to appreciate a window on their wild home.

  64. zuzu says:

    there are kinds of intelligence, at least in how we relate to them.

    The implications and consequences of this is what I find so fascinating about the writing of Stanislaw Lem — such as His Master’s Voice.

  65. Chris Spurgeon says:

    That octopus is now confined to a tiny corner of his aquarium where he’s passing the hours bouncing a baseball against the wall.

  66. Takuan says:

    @18 Puget Sound hosts the big ones. Maybe a good drysuit and a hookah rig? Still costs for the tender topside but maybe doable. For extended observation though, you’d be right at hookah depth limit I’ll bet, just when you meet some.

  67. teknocholer says:

    Moniker42, here are some more definitions, some American.


    The Wikipedia entry gives a lot of background.

  68. moniker42 says:

    @52 In the States we say Gerry-Rigged to mean something that is improvised, quality or no.

    We say Jury-Rigged to indicate that the Jury in a court of law has been coerced into a decision they might not have made otherwise.

    Though I don’t say either. I say ‘Macgyver’.

    Though in my neck of the woods, a rural area where there are not many ethnic minorities I think most people, at least most people without higher education say something quite a bit more rude. The same cannot be said for (or in) New York City, where I live now.

  69. teknocholer says:

    @#88 “you jury-rig a jury-mast after a gale”

    …using a jury-mast-knot:


    Note how they look a little like octopi?

  70. teknocholer says:

    re my comment #95, sorry, meant @89 (Takuan)

  71. modctek says:

    I can’t believe no one’s said it yet…

    “I, for one, welcome our-”

    *sounds of a scuffle and mayhem*

  72. Takuan says:

    @95 truly, His Noodly Appendage may be seen in all things.

  73. TheMadLibrarian says:

    It’s established that octopi are the smartest of all cephalopods, but how smart are they, and is it a smart that humans can relate to? Are octopi smart enough to value freedom over not having to cope with predators and regular meals (can they do abstract concepts)? Why do we think that, because the octopus is apparently fascinated with moving around the parts of her tank, that this indicates she wants her freedom, rather than a. is doing her own version of an intelligence test on us, b. is looking for new toys, or c. is doing this for no reason we can understand?

  74. Ian Holmes says:

    Time to re-post Scuba Diver vs Octopus?

    They’re planning something, I’m telling you

  75. oasisob1 says:

    @25: Damn your speed in posting.

  76. TroofSeeker says:

    I say we build the octopus a scuba rig filled with seawater instead of air, a big glass sphere over her head, then let her go and see just where she would go. Maybe she would free the other captives, maybe she’d eat them, or like most folks in Santa Monica, maybe she’d head to the beach. Or the mall.

  77. Anonymous says:


    You win. You don’t win internets, intarwebs, tubes, nor are you full of win. You just plain win.

    Now I’m stuck contemplating the thought of a pair of octopi trying to smuggle themselves aboard a sea world tram, only to be tripped up when an astute tour guide tells one of them “good luck” in cephalopod…

  78. technogeek says:

    Clearly someone is bored, and needs more and better toys.

    Intelligence testing is difficult unless you can figure out how to motivate the subject to cooperate. Food sometimes works, but anyone who has tried to train a cat knows that this requires working when the cat is hungry and otherwise in the right mood… and anything intelligent enough to be tested is going to try to find an easier way to get what it wants, so cooperation is relative. And intelligence is not a single number; different critters are better or worse at different kinds of tasks, so the question is less only “how smart is it” but “which smart is it.”

    Human intelligence tests suffer from many of the same problems; at best, with a fully cooperating subject, they may give you some generalities about how well that individual matches that test author’s idea of a well-rounded intelligence.

    Having said all that: Yeah, it’s an interesting question. The answer is probably out there on the web somewhere, or in a library if not. Ask a reference librarian; they _love_ a challenge.

  79. Brainspore says:

    Troofseeker: Don’t worry, the octopi are already building their own.

  80. teknocholer says:

    @47 …the author uses the phrase “Jury-Rigged” instead of “Gerry-Rigged”

    “Jury-rigged” is a nautical phrase meaning improvised, correct in this case. (It does not necessarily imply poor quality.) “Jerry-built” is British slang meaning shoddy or poorly made. These are often confused and everyone must stop it right now.

  81. Minvaren says:

    @2 – bagpipes

  82. kkennedy says:

    This guy needs more stimulation…I definitely hope they work something out for him, or move him to a bettter environment.

  83. TroofSeeker says:

    Early this morning a security guard at the mall found what appears to be partial remains of a homeless vagrant. Police are uncertain of the cause of death, but the initial investigation suggests bone damage to have been caused by a beak. Several seagulls are being held for interrogation. Police followed a trail of what seems to be ink of some sort, but the trail ended beneath the pier. More on this story as it develops.

  84. TroofSeeker says:

    I’ve seen a video of an octopus squeezing thru a hole not much bigger than a quarter. I think she was waiting for the water on the floor below to get deep enough so she could escape. I told her to wait til Saturday night, but you know how impatient they can be.

    By the way, Lizard Man, I’ve seen octopi in the shallow waters at La Jolla. If the waves are flat enough you could probably watch them while snorkeling, but I think they’re mostly nocturnal, and it takes a long time to win their trust.

    And KaosMonkey, no idea where to find cuttlefish, but don’t expect them to cuddle with you.

  85. Banksynergy says:

    #6 – I was inspired, but only had MS Paint and the time for ONE frame…

  86. Ugly Canuck says:

    Hey, that “jerry-built” British slang is from contempt for German (“gerry”) made kit in one of the last century’s World Wars, is it not? I’m thinking the First, but I’m not sure.
    As with so much slang, it started amongst the soldiers, I think.

  87. Tenn says:

    We say Jury-Rigged to indicate that the Jury in a court of law has been coerced into a decision they might not have made otherwise.

    Do we? I’ve always used ‘rigged jury’ to say that, and ‘jury-rigged’ to denote an improvised solution. – Texas

  88. js7a says:

    Someone figure out if we need an octopus-surveillance state, please.

  89. Ugly Canuck says:

    Trip to, heave and ho, up down, to and fro
    You have no words
    Trip, trip to a dream dragon
    Hide your wings in a ghost tower
    Sails crackeling at every plate we break
    Racked by scattered needles
    Little minute gong coughs
    And clears his throat
    Madam you see before you stand
    Hey ho, never be still
    The old original favorite grand
    Grasshopper’s green herbarian band
    And the tune they play in us confide…
    So trip to, heave and ho, up down, to and fro
    You have no words
    Please leave us here
    Close our eyes to the OCTOPUS ride!
    Isn’t it good to be lost in the wood
    Isn’t it bad, so quiet there, in the wood
    It meant even less to me than I thought
    With a honey plough of yellow prickly seeds
    Clover honey pots and mystic shining feed…
    Well, the madcap laughed at the man on the border
    Hey ho, ‘huff the talbot
    Cheetah he cried shouted kangaroo
    So through their tree they cried
    Please leave us here
    Close our eyes to the OCTOPUS ride!
    The madcap laughed at the man on the border
    Hey ho, huff the talbot
    The winds they blew and the leaves did wag
    And they’ll never put me in their bag
    The seas will reach and always see
    So high you go, so low you creep
    The winds it blows in tropical heat
    The drones they throng on mossy seats
    The squeaking door will always creep
    Two up, two down well never meet
    So merrily trip for good my side
    Please leave us here
    Close our eyes to the OCTOPUS ride!

    Lyrics from Syd Barrett’s “Octopus”.
    Just came to mind.
    It occasionally sneaks onto Pink Floyd’s set lists.
    Isn’t that right, Floyd?

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