Determined Octopus Removes Obstacles From Divider Opening to Squeeze Through to His Beloved Barrel

Arnold, the very intelligent octopus at Octolab who previously cleared obstacles from his favorite barrel and squeezed through increasing smaller slots in a transparent wall, found himself having to perform both tasks in the same challenge thanks to a viewer’s request.

Please place a transparent plastic divider with a smaller square-shaped lower opening to the middle of the experiment tank. There should not be another way for him to get through. Please cover the opening with tiles or any other removable obstacles (not too much, not too big, not too heavy). The barrel is on one side and the octopus is on the other side. Arnold’s task to figure out that he needs to remove the obstacles to get through to the other side…

Arnold appeared to understand the challenge immediately and set to work moving the tiles and blocks until he found a space in the transparent wall large enough for him to shimmy through. After making it to the other side of the wall, Arnold happily reunited with his beloved barrel and hid away from the rest of the world.

Arnold starts removing the little blocks and struggles to get as many arms as he can on the other side when there is more tidying up to be done. The astounding fact about this experiment is Arnold’s Napoleonic capabilities: He is calculating, clearing up, and squeezing through at the same time! Also, it is fascinating how he only removes the absolutely necessary number of obstacles in order to make it through and does not care about the rest.

Octopus Blocked by Obstacles to His Barrel

Octolab is a research facility that seeks to learn more about these incredible creatures by observing their behavior in a variety of situations. Each and every cephalopod in their care has been rescued from a fisherman’s catches and saved from an otherwise horrific fate.

At no point do we place any of our animals in harm’s way. Our priority is, always has been, and will always be the well-being and health of our octopuses. …All of the eight-armed friends who are part of the Octolab project were rescued from the catch of fishermen. Their fate would have been gruesome otherwise. Quite literally they would have been smashed on the rocks while still alive to “tenderize” them and then hung to dry in the sun before being sold to local seafood restaurants and markets.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.