A New Zealand Aquarium native makes a slippery escape to the sea in search of Belize’s Barrier Reef!

An open tank, and an octopus who can think on his feet… Inky cleverly squeezes up and out of the National Aquarium in New Zealand!


In the wee hours of our Belizean morning, we received reports of Inky, an octopus, and resident of the National Aquarium in the coastal city of Napier, New Zealand who made a cunning escape from his tank to the sea, possibly in search of Belize’s barrier reef.

The authorities say the tank-break was carefully planned by Inky and stealthily executed;

“They are always exploring and they are great escape artists,” said Mr Rob Yarrell, Aquarium Manager

Inky, like most octopuses, was rather reclusive and spent much of his time watching and hiding, even from his tank mate (another octopus). His escape was made possible by a small crack between the tank and its lid at the top, and a small drainage pipe some yards away that lead right to the sea. the aquarium staff found Inky’s slime trail leading to the pipe which confirms suspicions that he climbed out and made the dry run across the floor to sweet freedom.

Aquarium manager Rob Yarrall says the tank’s lid was left slightly ajar following maintenance work. “He managed to make his way to one of the drain holes that go back to the ocean and off he went – didn’t even leave us a message,” he tells Radio New Zealand. Staff later found “octopus tracks” which revealed Inky’s escape route. The breakout happened earlier this year but only came to light in the national press on Tuesday.

While Inky’s body is about the size of a rugby ball, he’s considerably more squishy and can get through seemingly impassable spaces. “Even quite a large octopus, they can squeeze down to the size of their mouth which is the only really hard part of their body,” he says. “It’s a beak, very much like a parrot beak.”

-Courtesy BBC News

Yarrell pointed out, it was the first escape he had ever been called to report in his years of steering the Marine Parade marine attraction.

“Yes, it’s most unusual and yes, we’ll be watching the other one.” was Yarrells closing remark.

Inky had been a popular member of the great aquarium family for just about two years after having been taken there by a fisherman and one of the aquarium staff who rescued him from a crayfish pot which had been set near Pania Reef.

Rumors speculate that Inky may have heard talks of the Belize Barrier Reef among the other aquarium residents and being as crafty as he is, took the opportunity to pack his tentacles and head west  for the exotic appeal of this famed world heritage site. The Belize Barrier reef is the longest (185 miles) stretch of healthy coral reef in this hemisphere and is home to extraordinarily beautiful marine species, our guess would be that inky was unhappy with his roommate and longed to make new friends off the coast of Belize. While Inky’s whereabouts are still currently unknown our Barrier Reef would be a good bet as it’s the perfect spot for an octopus to lay low and have great company.

School of creole wrasse
School of creole wrasse

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