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Diver Coaxes Octopus To Trade His Plastic Cup For A Shell

Margaret Tionquiao

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  • A diver from Iceland, Pall Sigurdsson, was filmed with a team of divers, while trying to persuade a veined octopus to abandon his plastic cup.
  • They tried to trade it with a hard shell, and protect the octopus as well as the potential predator.
  • Because coconut octopus are picky with the shells that they keep, it took some time before they were able to coax it to abandon the plastic cup.
  • Pall also shared that it took a while and almost all their air, but they saved the octopus from a “cruel fate.”

Pall Sigurdsson, an engineer and diving enthusiast from Iceland, was filmed while coaxing a baby coconut octopus to switch homes — from a transparent plastic cup for a hard shell — during his underwater adventures in Lembeh, Indonesia.

Pall and a team of divers stumbled upon a baby veined octopus sheltered in a plastic cup, according to reports. He said that it was his dive buddy who found the octopus and asked him to help.

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“It was our third dive that day, and we were all getting a little tired. My dive buddy sent me a hand signal saying that he found an octopus and asked me to come over for help,” he shared.

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Veined octopuses, like other smaller and weaker animals, have an instinct to protect themselves from predators, so they scavenge for aural materials — like coconut or clamshells — and turn them into a mobile home. However, like this octopus, they sometimes use whatever they find and end up with plastic cups or empty containers.

“They are clever animals,” Pall had said. He also said that they usually use whatever is in their environment to their advantage. Still, it has become more challenging now that trash has become “a permanent part of their environment.”

He called the transparent cup a catalyst for “a guaranteed death sentence.”
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Knowing that the transparent cup hardly offered any protection, Pall and his fellow divers took it upon themselves to help the tiny creature. They presented several shells and tried to exchange them with the plastic cup that the octopus had on, until the veined octopus finally reached out one of its tentacles, picked one beautiful shell, and abandoned the plastic cup.

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He shared coconut octopuses are famed for being picky with their shells, so they weren’t surprised that the process of ‘evacuating’ the little guy took a while and several shells.

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“We spent a whole dive and most of our air saving this octopus from what was bound to be a cruel fate.”

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“The coconut octopus, also known as veined octopus, is born with the instinct to protect itself by creating a mobile home out of coconut or clam shells.”

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“This particular individual however has been trapped by their instincts and have made a home out of a plastic cup they found underwater.”

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“While a shell is a sturdy protection, a passing eel or flounder would probably swallow the cup with the octopus in it, most likely also killing the predator or weakening it to a point where it will be soon eaten by an even bigger fish.”

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“We found this particular octopus at about 20 meters under the water, we tried for a long time to give it shells hoping that it would trade the shell. Coconut octopus are famous for being very picky about which shells they keep so we had to try with many different shells before it found one to be acceptable.”

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Watch the video here.

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