-- An octopus' daring nighttime escape from the National Aquarium of New Zealand is making international headlines after a handler apparently left the top of the sea creature's tank slightly ajar.
By the time the staff at the aquarium noticed the octopus, named Inky, was missing, he was long gone. They believe that Inky squeezed out the top of the tank, slithered down the side and onto the floor, and made a break for a nearby drain pipe.
"He managed to make his way to one of the drain holes which go back to the ocean and off he went," Rob Yarrall, the aquarium's manager, told Radio New Zealand, adding, "And he didn't even leave us a message."
The escape actually happened a few months ago, but is only now coming to light.
"I don’t think he was unhappy with us, or lonely, as octopus are solitary creatures," Yarrall added to The Guardian. "But he is such a curious boy. He would want to know what’s happening on the outside. That’s just his personality."
Inky came to the aquarium a few years ago after he was captured by a local fisherman.
"The staff and I have been pretty sad," Yarrall told The Guardian. "But then, this is Inky, and he’s always been a bit of a surprise octopus."
It is a well-documented fact that octopuses are expert escape artists with a mind-boggling ability to squeeze their sprawling bodies through the tiniest of holes.
"An octopus is an invertebrate, meaning it doesn't have an internal skeleton," Ernie Sawyer, senior aquarist at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium, told ABC News. "The only hard body part on an octopus is its beak, and as long as the opening is large enough for that beak to fit through, the octopus can get its whole body through that opening."
Sawyer noted that Shedd has its very own octopus, Oliver, who will continue to delight guests for a long time to come because he is in an "escape-proof enclosure."