Several months ago, an octopus named “Inky” escaped from the New Zealand National Aquarium. According to NPR, officials at the aquarium did not publicly release the information that he had escaped until they were able to confirm that he had left the premises. Earlier this month, aquarium officials were able to confirm that Inky had, in fact, left the building.
According to aquarium officials, Inky crawled out of a small space at the top of his living quarters and made his way down a drainage pipe. The drainage pipe leads to Hawke’s Bay. NPR reported that octopuses are known for their incredible ability to learn, excellent eyesight (apparently, they don’t need light to see) and escape artistry (see this video of an octopus trying to escape its tank) – therefore, marine biologists familiar with octopuses were not surprised by Inky’s great escape.
octopuses have the ability to form mental maps of areas.
Slate reported that officials stated that Inky didn’t escape because he was “unhappy…or lonely”, but he most likely did because he is “a curious boy” and would want to “know what’s happening on the outside”. Live Science reported that octopuses have the ability to form mental maps of areas. The reason they can do this is thought to be an evolutionary adaptation to their environment.
Because a coral reef is a dangerous place to live, due to high predation, these animals have developed the skill necessary for survival. Inky left behind his tank-mate named “Blotchy”, but since these animals are solitary by nature his departure is not expected to affect him.