Science / Trending / World

Inky the Octopus and His Daring Jailbreak from Aquarium to Pacific Ocean

It sounds like the plot of a new movie by Disney Pixar. A daring cephalopod, known as “Inky the Octopus” engineers a nighttime jailbreak from an aquatics museum. His daring maneuvers, which include breaking out of the aquarium, sliding down a drain pipe, scaling a wall and no doubt making some fun fishy friends on his way back to the Pacific Ocean, made him the hero of the internet. He’s given a new name, Inky Houdini, and a sequel is already in the works.


Well, most of the above is true, except for the part about the movie and its sequel. Inky the Octopus did make worldwide headlines by escaping the confines of the New Zealand aquarium and engineering a great escape back to the wilderness of the Pacific Ocean. Inky made his escape three months ago, but the aquarium kept it under wraps until the news, like Inky, leaked out.

Apparently Inky noticed a very small opening at the top of his tank that had been left slightly ajar. Inky the escape artist noticed, opened the lid, clambered out, made his way to a 6-inch-wide drain opening and slithered out, just like one of the old prisoners who escaped from Alcatraz. The daring escape took him down a 164-foot pipe. The aquarium staff then discovered a long wet streak over the floor going in the direction of the pipe, which led straight to the Ocean.


For the octopus to make the escape, he would have needed to be savvy enough to figure out how to open his aquarium and then smart enough to smell the Pacific Ocean inside that drain. (Not that everyone was impressed with Inky’s escape. His cellmate – tank-mate, that is – Blotchy, opted to remain behind.)

Marine biologists say they are not surprised by Inky’s maneuvers, since octopuses are known for their dexterity and intelligence. Octopuses belong to a class of marine life known as Cephalopoda, which have proven to be good at escaping from spaces as small as a coin. There is only one rigid part on the octopus’ body, and that’s a small beak.

Octopuses are famous on YouTube, where their videos show them performing such feats as opening jars and sliding through small holes on boats. They enjoy hunting at night and possess ink that lets them trick predators by shooting it off and then scrambling away. They are also smart enough to carry coconut shells down to the ocean floor where they build shelters. Octopuses have very sharp eyesight, which many believe are indicative of the octoupus’ ability to actually create mental maps and to learn.

Alix Harvey, an aquarist at the Marine Biological Association in England, said she knew of an octopus in a British aquarium who left his tank each night, slithered over to a nearby fish tank, ate some fish, and then made it home for bedtime.

No fishermen have spotted Inky just yet, although there’s a good bet that he’s enjoying a new coconut abode, enjoying underwater dating and meeting all of the Ocean’s biggest celebrities, such as the Little Mermaid and Dory from the upcoming Finding Nemo sequel.


  1. Brielle says:

    Love the diagram about Inky’s “escape”!

  2. James says:

    Oh Disney please make this movie next.

  3. none none says:

    Octopuses are awesome creatures, truly. I have no doubt that they can engineer many heists.

  4. Olivia Benson says:

    Law and Order: New Zealand Aquarium Edition. Dun dun dun dun dun…..

  5. LMAO says:

    I love the story about the octo who escaped every night to snack on fish. too funny!

  6. Neat says:

    Fascinating. You don’t think of octopuses as having brains, much less being able to create mental maps.

  7. Shawn says:

    Great article! Go inky go

  8. Kath says:

    So sad that octopuses find aquarium life so boring. Perhaps the university marine biologist programs could create an “octopus toy” design contest. I’m sure they could come up with all sorts of interesting, fun, and visually entertaining things that the octopus could do; And then have a octopus toy exchange program with other aquariums, since the whole point of the aquarium is to provide visual entertainment…

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