The reason that octopuses don’t do as well as mammals and birds in laboratory intelligence tests is that, unlike birds and monkeys, octopuses quickly get bored with repetitive tasks and find some novel way to play with the apparatus…

Octopuses can assemble and disassemble compound objects…

They are curious, flexible, adventurous, and opportunistic…

When they get bored, octopuses tend to become hostile in a mischievous way. They learn how to turn the lights out in a laboratory by squirting water at electrical sockets, and they will squirt individual lab workers whom they particularly dislike. They can easily recognize individual humans and are capable of holding grudges. They will sometimes show contempt by dumping down the drain any food that they consider beneath their standard. Other animals might thoughtlessly consume the food or just leave it untouched. But an octopus will make sure that a feeder in the lab is watching while it walks over to the sink and throws the food down the drain in full view.

When lab attendants are not paying attention, bored octopuses will snack on other animals in the laboratory and go back to their tanks without getting caught. Not only can they walk across floors, they can even open door handles. Those who are fed up with captivity will find ingenious ways to escape, in some cases even reaching the ocean. They are aided in these Houdini stunts by having a boneless, perfectly deformable body that can squeeze through any hole larger than its eyeballs.

from Closer Encounters by Jason Jorjani

1 thought on “Octopuses

  1. Seeing sentience in the sea
    Moving away from Chordatan chauvinism
    More love for a Molluscan mirror spirit
    8-armed representative for Planet ∞

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