Octopus homeowners.

While looking around the interwebs for interesting science, I came across a really cute video of an octopus carrying a tin can and using it as a shelter. I know that there is a very cephalopod-heavy science-esque blog around the place, and I’m not trying to tread on their toes, but this is really cool.

This video from CNN iReport, was taken in the Philippines. It’s a very cute octopus. It carries the tin around (which looks like it requires a lot of effort! Poor octopus!), and at the end, as it folds itself into the can it seems that it has also been carrying a shell to use as a door. For some reason, I always visualise octopuses as being enormous, but with the tin providing context, it’s actually a rather small animal:

http://ireport.cnn.com/themes/custom/resources/cvplayer2.0/IReportEmbedPlayer.swf?site=ireport&profile=ireport-embed&context=embed&contentId=782459/0

(this link might work better: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-782459)

This reminded me of something I saw a while ago – octopuses using coconut shells as shelter, in a rare demonstration of tool use by an invertebrate. The researchers observed the octopuses carrying around coconut shell halves in a rather ungainly fashion, and used them to hide under, or in some cases, carried two and ended up being sheltered inside the reassembled coconut. Cool. This research was published by some staff at the Museum of Victoria (in Current Biology), and they also uploaded some videos of the octopuses, as seen below. I love the way the octopus saunters past the camera at the start; and the excellent demo of how tube-feet work at the end.

The use of tools, and the carrying of the tools for the ‘just in case’ scenario indicate that these little cephalopods are much smarter than we give them credit for. Whether they are really psychic or not is still not resolved.

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