Inky The Octopus Pulls A Houdini, Escapes From Aquarium And Into The Ocean

Inky the escape artist.

Cephalopods, the kind of mollusks that octopuses and squid are classified as, are known for their mastery of disguise. They can change colors faster than a chameleon, take on the texture of their surroundings, and hide behind  ink clouds they secrete on their own.

Turns out, they also happen to be expert escape artists. 

Three months ago, Inky the octopus escaped his enclosure inside the New Zealand National Aquarium, but details of his getaway only became public this week. Inky slipped through a gap at the top of his tank left by maintenance workers and then got his football-sized head through a size inch drain. Suction cup tracks left clues as to how exactly Inky got out. 

The drain Inky found led all the way to the Pacific Ocean, and once he made his move he was essentially gone.

"He managed to make his way to one of the drain holes that go back to the ocean. And off he went," New Zealand's National Aquarium manager Rob Yarrall told Radio New Zealand. "And he didn't even leave us a message."

Locals both mourned and celebrated the escape.

Sy Montgomery, author of The Soul of an Octopus, told PRI.org that Inky probably didn't escape out of loneliness or desire, as octopuses typically live in solitude. Chances are Inky was just satisfying his curiosity while exercising his problem-solving skills, two things cephalopods are known for.

"It doesn't mean that Inky was unhappy where he was," Montgomery said to PRI.org. "Astronauts don't go into outer space because they don't like Earth, they just want to see what else is out there."

One thing is certain: the internet was happy to hear of Inky's escape.

The manager at the aquarium did have one complaint: that Inky didn't leave a message before he escaped.