A baby red octopus is small enough to sleep on your fingernail. Which explains how one managed to sneak into the Monterey Bay Aquarium on a rock or sponge and stow away there for nearly a year, secretly snacking on the aquarium’s crabs, before being found.
The sneaky critter was the size of a fist when it was finally discovered, having climbed out of the Shale Reef exhibit where it was hiding out and crawled into plain sight on the aquarium floor. According to senior aquarist Barbara Utter, it put on all that bulk by eating the legitimate residents: “We’d noticed that there weren’t as many crabs coming out at feeding time in that exhibit. Now we realize that’s where they’d all been going — into the octopus’s [POWERFUL CHOMPING BEAK]!” [It has been pointed out that the word “tummy” in the original quote is kind of goofy, so it has been redacted in favor of making this itty wittle octopus look tougher.]
Because ethics hold no sway in the lawless undersea kingdom, though, the stowaway is not being keelhauled or forced into indentured servitude. Instead, it’s being prepped to become a full-fledged member of the aquarium’s Splash Zone. Which I guess is a kind of indentured servitude, from the octopus’ point of view.
Midnight Rambler, Monterey Bay Aquarium Tumblr.
Nov. 13, 2012, Monterey Bay Aquarium Tumblr.