How Did This Cunning Octopus Chase Down a Skittish Crab? We Asked an Expert at the South Carolina Aquarium

by Owen James Burke

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Screenshot from Bettina Turnbull’s YouTube video from Sydney, Australia.

Cephalopods (octopuses, cuttlefish, squid) are known well for their smarts, which are believed by many to rival the intellectual capacity and ingenuity of the human species.

We’ve seen videos of octopuses slipping into clamshells, unscrewing mason jars, even crawling ashore to wrap an arm around a seagull. However, his circular game of cat and mouse between a pacific octopus and crab (species?) filmed off Sydney had us scratching our heads.

At first, it seemed that the octopus would grow dizzy before even reaching the crab. We enlisted the help of Shannon Howard, Senior Biologist and octopus specialist at the South Carolina Aquarium:

“Octopus are very intelligent animals who are well adapted to their environment. They are extremely skilled hunters and good problem solvers. Crabs are one of their main prey items and this video is a great example of an octopus doing what they do best.”

Simple as that. Still, my hat’s off to our eight-legged brethren of the sea. Watch the remarkable video clip below.

A special thanks to Shannon Howard and Kate Dittloff of the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston, South Carolina! -OJB 

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