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Maverick octopus escapes from aquarium to freedom

Forget the sequel to Finding Nemo - it's already happened, and for real this time.

A maverick octopus named Inky has made a daring escape from the national aquarium in New Zealand by breaking out of its tank, shuffling its way across several metres of floor and then sliding down a 50 metre-long drainpipe which led directly nto the sea.

He seemingly spotted his opportunity after the lid of his tank was accidentally left ajar, before waiting for the middle of the night to make good his escape into the waters of Hawke's Bay, which lies of the east coast of New Zealand's North Island.

National manager of the National Aqaurium of New Zealand in Napier Rob Yarrell said, "Octopuses are famous escape artists. But Inky really tested the waters here. I don’t think he was unhappy with us, or lonely, as octopus are solitary creatures. But he is such a curious boy. He would want to know what’s happening on the outside. That’s just his personality."

Yarrell continued, “When we came in the next morning and his tank was empty, I was really surprised. The staff and I have been pretty sad. But then, this is Inky, and he’s always been a bit of a surprise octopus.”

Exhibits keeper Reiss Jenkinson explained that he was certain that Inky had not been stolen. 

“I understand the nature of octopus behaviour very well. I have seen octopus on boats slip through bilge pumps. And the security here is too tight for anyone to take Inky, and why would they?”

Yarrell explained that Inky was an "unusually intelligent" octopus - which is saying something, as the creatures are famous for being able to complete complex tasks and challenges, including escaping from the inside of a jar.

“He was very friendly, very inquisitive, and a popular attraction here. We have another octopus, Blotchy, but he is smaller than Inky, and Inky had the personality.”

Poor Blotchy. Maybe he'll grow into his role now that Inky has left the building.

While no search is being conducted, Yarrell said, “You never know. There’s always a chance Inky could come home to us.”

(Images: National Aquarium, New Zealand)

[via The Guardian]