An octopus who lives in a beer bottle

Science blogger Mike Lisieski found this video of an octopus who's turned trash into treasure. It's a tight squeeze to get out of the bottle, but the ability to maneuver through tiny spaces is one of those skills octopuses evolved both to defend themselves against predators, and catch their own prey. Basically, an octopus can go anywhere that it can fit its hard beak through—the rest of its body is squishy and malleable. In fact, in aquariums, octopuses are often given mazes with narrow passageways and hidden food "prizes." The games help keep the octopus' awesome brain entertained in captivity.

Bonus: There's a great color-change moment right as the octopus pops out of the bottleneck.


  1. A biologist friend of mine tells a story of a colleague who found some valuable fish had been stolen from the aquarium in his office. After losing a fish on two consecutive nights, even though the office was locked, he decided to sit in the dark in his office to catch the perp in the act. And he did.

    Turned out the octopus in the next tank had lifted the glass lid on its own aquarium, climbed out, opened the lid on the fish tank, helped itself to a sleeping fish, and then crawled back home.

      1. It’s probably happened more than once. I it definitely occurred at Sheldon Jackson College in Sitka, AK in the Sage Building that housed the fisheries department. Lots of trout were going missing so one night some students sat in the dark and saw the octopus crawl out of one tank into another for dinner.

  2. Octopi should get genetically engineered to live longer.

    I, for one, would welcome our octopodean overlords.

  3. Notice that the cool color change (camouflage) happens just as the octopus’ eye pops out of the bottle, when it can more clearly see the environment it needs to blend into!

  4. Weirdly enough I wonder why it pops its head out first and not a tentacle. Maybe it had to follow a first in; last out process because of the tight fit within the bottle.

    1. I’m guessing it’s easier to push itself out rather then pull itself out by grabbing the neck ring.

      1. Hmmm, the few videos I can find of octopi leaving bottles/tanks etc show them leaving by pushing out their tentacles first and then their head. I think this octopus had to leave head first because it didn’t have a choice. (I’m no scientist — just curious)

  5. I bet each of those strategic, mantle-pulsing pauses is to equalize the pressure differential by letting water back into the bottle.

  6. And for all those still contemplating the correct plural, it is — obviously — octopiggle.

    Lovely footage.

    I do hope that the young men out there are not too squeamish. :}

  7. I grew up in living on the water in a harbor, and there were lots of sunken beer/soda cans that could be seen at low tide from our dock, or from a little rowboat. It seemed as though every third can held an octopus. Putting a stick inside would often draw an octopus out, while providing a lesson in how small things can be quite strong (and incredibly, screamingly, and thrillingly “ooogly”).

    So one day I pulled up a can and could feel an octopus in there, but it would not come out, even if I let the water run out for a few seconds(!). Weird. So, being 8 years old, I put it in a bucket of sea water and left it overnight. The next morning, I had a bucket filled with a brave-yet-eager-to-leave mommy octopus and hundreds of teeny-tiny baby octopuses, each 4-5 mm, swimming like crazy all over the bucket. So delightfully cute! I let them go and hope their descendants are still hiding all over that harbor.

    I learned a lot growing up, but perhaps no more than I did playing with sea life off the side of our dock.

  8. When do you reckon he’s going to realise he needs a bigger front door.
    You wouldn’t want to play with octopus in cans here, you’d quickly find they’re likely to have lots of iridescent blue rings on them.

  9. Love the curled tentacle walking trick. I keep thinking octopodes must prefer to swim about.
    And for a bonus, the folks who get to make the rules about such things just decided that all three of the common plurals for octopus is/are correct.

Comments are closed.