Gotcha! Octopus Snaps Picture of Photographer From Inside its Tank

by Carolyn Sotka


Ben Savard, Digital Media Producer at Middlebury College,  mug shot taken by an octopus. Photo provided by Ben Savard/Middlebury College.

Octopuses are the most highly intelligent order of invertebrates, or spineless animals – which make up 95% of the animal kingdom. They use tools and display short and long-term memory in their behavior. In a bizarre twist, and literal turn of the camera, a filmmaker at Middlebury College learned firsthand an octopus’ proclivity for observational learning.

While filming a short about science projects conducted at Middlebury earlier this month, Ben Savard set-up shop in the neuroscience department and asked the head student researcher if he could grab some underwater photos of an octopus in the lab.

“I set up a GoPro to take a bunch of still images every second, put it in the tank, and what you see is the result!” Savard told ABC WPVI-TV. “The octopus picked up the camera, played with it for a while, turned it back at me for a quick second, and left it alone.”


Photo provided by Ben Savard/Middlebury College

Perhaps it was just a coincidence or an accidental slip of the shoot button, but either way this is a photo Ben Savard will never forget. Check out the ABC news story to see the complete series of photos taken by the octopus and a giff file that animates the series to get the full effect. – CS

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