Octopus walks on land


63 Responses to “Octopus walks on land”

  1. Bodhipaksa says:

    Not just an urban legend. Sy Montgomery’s article in Orion Magazine contained more than one tale of octopuses on dry land, including this one, where the animals didn’t just walk, but ran.

    Some would let themselves be captured, only to use the net as a trampoline. They’d leap off the mesh and onto the floor—and then run for it. Yes, run. “You’d chase them under the tank, back and forth, like you were chasing a cat,” Warburton said. “It’s so weird!”

    Here’s a link to the article: http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/6474/

  2. Lobster says:

    Gah!  Octorok!

  3. HiTek LoLife says:


  4. Nick Gold says:

    That’s no octopus…

    It’s BABY CTHULHU!!!

  5. InsertFingerHere says:

    I bet he couldn’t get back in the water fast enough to get away from those idiot yakky humans.

    Please someone replace the audio with some nice nature music and informative narration.

  6. Brainspore says:

    Huh, I was sure I’d seen (staged) video of an octopus pulling the “leaving its own tank to enter a nearby crab tank” thing on a NOVA program or something. I know that doesn’t mean the original incident happened the way the legend describes but it would seem to show it was possible.

    • William Bagilliam says:

      I saw that too.  It may have been a staged video, but the possibility exists.  I remember it slithering through a tube and doing some climbing as well.

      Plus I’ve seen video of them learning by watching what other octopi do in other tanks, then replicating that behavior.  They’re clearly capable of identifying food and devising a plan to acquire it.

  7. Wowbagger_Infinitley_Prolonged says:

    Are you sure it’s not a Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus? http://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/

  8. Rich Keller says:

    I just  fell in love with octop(usses/i/odes) all over again.  Could the “delightful creatures” tag used for this? I think it applies.

  9. GawainLavers says:

    Scientific American just started an all-octopuses, all-the-time…

    I’m sure you mean “Scientific American just started an all-octopodes, all-the-time…”

  10. iamdoingscience says:

    So anybody else figure the crab was an offering to welcome it’s new terrestrial overlords?

  11. Ron Soulless says:

    That’s one of the most awesome things I’ve seen today.

  12. EH says:

    So, I heard something on NPR the other day, a story about octopuses and there was a person touching an octopus for the first time. It was an interesting segment, however at one point the zookeeper says that an octopus is red when they are freaking out/angry. Later in the segment they’re playing with an octopus and the reporter says something about how the octopus is red and the zookeeper says “well they just do that sometimes.” Anybody know for sure? Was the zookeeper just being nice the second time? Regardless, if the red thing is true, this octopus looks really scared.

  13. beemoh says:

    Well, that’s me never sleeping again.

  14. Dr_Wadd says:

    I, for one, welcome our new octopus overlords.

    There’s still a few hours left and that’s probably going to win the award for freakiest thing I see today. Between the land walking, tool use and camouflage, if octopodes decide to take us on we’re not going to be in for an easy time. ;)

  15. Napkins says:

    And yet they can’t seem to get away from the deep fryer or my marinara sauce. 

  16. Warren_Terra says:

    I was going to do the “I for one welcome our tentacled overlords.” bit but got beaten to it (I eventually noticed).

    So I’ll switch to pointing out that between octopi (or is it now officially octopuses?) demonstrating their deep and arcane knowledge (of the World Cup) and their walking on land, even as the oceans rise, the question is whether the future is H P Lovecraft or John Wyndham .

  17. Hugh Johnson says:

    Cephalopods rule.
    Also, he was headed for the squawking lady with the video recorder…he was going to give her a good tentacle lovin’.

  18. Brainspore says:

    At least they haven’t conquered the skies. Yet.

  19. ludd says:

    The Kraken Wakes !

  20. Lucas Green.screen says:

    I saw the same thing on Jeju Island!

    Except in this case, I suspect the octopus was captured by a seabird and dropped on land because it was too heavy… Don’t really know, we just stumbled on him taking a stroll across the rocks.

  21. michael b says:

    Maybe, given a couple more hundred million years and a few climbs up the evolutionary ladder, we’ll lose our global dominance to a race of wickedly intelligent cephalopods.  Wouldn’t that be something?

  22. hectocotyli says:

    Maggie, did you miss the part where it deposited on shore the lifeless exoskeleton of a crab, like a gift?Or a warning.

    But more likely, just being tidy, the fussy dears.

  23. Finnagain says:

    Searching for souls, obviously.

  24. snagglepuss says:

    The video was almost over before I realized that I’d been muttering “C’mon…You can do it…Thattaboy… Come onnnn…” for a spell.

  25. lorq says:

    If this octopus had instead been carrying coconut shells, as we’ve seen them do in other videos, we’d have a whole new swallow-free explanation for King Arthur’s horse-servant Patsy.

  26. irksome says:

    Placing bets on the ’12 World Cup games, no doubt. 

    Did it have a German accent?

  27. cstatman says:

    after seeing giant squid?  and knowing how they eat?  this?  is the stuff of my nightmares…

  28. Max Smouha says:

    it’s important to remember that incorrect or at least varied word and grammatical usage is the engine of colloquial speech and word invention. obvious grammar mistakes bother me too, but i think people who have pride in their grammar fascism really just need to find better outlets for their aggression because if people didn’t fuck up or disregard rules the world would not be very interesting, and i don’t limit that statement to language either.

  29. Allison McGurk says:

    When we were kids we used to go down to the canal with a little net on a stick, and catch minnows, which we’d put in jam jars full of water and take home. One day I caught an eel as well, so once I got home I put the minnows in one jar, and the eel in a separate one, both in the bottom of the bath.

    When I got up next morning the eel’s jar was empty. The minnows’ jar contained no minnows: just a rather fat and self-satisfied looking eel.

    I wish I’d been able to watch that eel making its way across the bottom of the bath, out of the water, in the dead of night. It terrified me, so it was back to the canal with it, pronto.

  30. jimkirk says:

    This is how it begins…

  31. Katherine Watt says:

    I don’t know if it ate anything but at the place I used to volunteer the octopus would break out in the middle of the night and scurry around on the tile floor. It’s standard for octopus enclosures to have astro turf around the opening nowadays to prevent octopus escapades.

    The best octopus aquarium story I’ve heard was of an individual that went through the pipes to eat crabs or something out of a different tank, and would then return to get its scheduled feeding.

  32. adonai says:

    It’s like the dolphins rising against Springfield, except more Lovecraftian.

  33. robuluz says:

    Jeez they are tenacious animals. Can anyone estimate the relative increase in apparent weight from water to land? It must be like pulling 4G’s or something.

    Also, Officer Barbrady at 3:03.

  34. Holli Sims says:

    i work at a caribbean marine life collection/distribution facility- octopus frequently “break out” and travel, especially in the pursuit of food. if kept in big jars they learn to unscrew the lid within hours.

    • Warren_Terra says:

      Then there’s the classic Octopus Learning experiment in which they are given treats in sealed jars, and quickly learn that the lid screws off, and has a clockwise thread – as can be demonstrated by giving them an otherwise identical treat-in-a-jar sealed with a counter-clockwise thread.

  35. jesse wolfe says:

    I used to know a guy whose apartment was full of aquariums. He lived in a one-bedroom pad, but he had like ten or fifteen aquariums in the living room. And in one tank, he had an octopus, a little guy, like four inches long.
    And that octopus could climb into other fish tanks to hunt.
    I never saw it outside the tank myself, which is just fine by me, sea creatures kinda freak me out, and having one run around the room would probably be too much to take.
    But I did see it do a chameleon act! It could actually change color to match its surroundings, but being a creepy sea creature, its skin is normally translucent, so when the new pigment came in it was like watching a bottle fill with dark smoke. Gorgeous.

  36. bcsizemo says:

    Dr. Freeman, I need to borrow your crowbar!

  37. Shibi_SF says:

    At the Tsukiji Fish Market, I have seen live octopuses run off from their bins (or tables or stall displays).   I also saw live eels slither away but I think that they were just reacting to being out of the water and not necessarily seeking freedom.  (Eels do emerge from water in search of food:  in Hawaii eels come up out of the water and slither around on the rocks seeking food (like our fishing bait)).   A chomping, slithering eel will make you run a lot faster than a scooting octopus — probably because they have very large teeth that look more menacing than an octopus. 

  38. Alex Knutson says:


  39. geessebeschleier says:

    Hmmm   looks like octopi/octopodes/octopuses and cats have more in common than we thought, reminds me of my cats bringing some prey home and dropping it on the floor for us (02:10), just this time it’s an octopus and a crab

  40. raikou says:

    I for one, welcome our new cephalopod overlords.

  41. El Stinko says:

    WOW. When it raised itself up, presumably to get a look around to see where the water was, it literally took my breath away.

  42. Kingazaz says:

    I, for one, welcome our new octopus overlords. 

  43. lorq says:

    H.G. Wellsian Martian has lost its tripod.

  44. stib says:

    If you’re allergic to Minnesotans there’s video of another octopus going for a stroll here – with a biologist narrating instead.

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