Gotcha! Octopus Snaps Picture of Photographer From Inside its Tank

by Carolyn Sotka

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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.”

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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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