Video: Octopus Escapes Through One-Inch Hole

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December 12, 2006—Feast your eyes on the beauty of bonelessness.

Octopuses can squeeze through what appear to be impossibly small holes and cracks—but just how small? To find out, Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences student Raymond Deckel, along with advisor James B. Wood, is conducting experiments with local octopuses, including this 8-ounce (232-gram) Octopus macropus filmed sliding through a one-inch (2.5-centimeter) opening in an acrylic box in November 2006 (Bermuda Islands map).

Though they may look uncomfortable to us bone-filled viewers, such maneuvers are routine for octopuses, Wood said in an email. "Octopuses typically live in lairs with restrictive openings to protect them from predators," he said, "and every time they enter or leave their 'house,' they squeeze through small holes or crevices."

These undersea Houdinis' other escape skills include jet power (the animals suck in water and shoot it out a special tube) and an ink spray, which can leave octopuses' archenemies (including eels, seals, whales, dolphins, and sharks) in the dark.

For more on the team's research, see the Cephalopod Page.

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