Massive octopus in Seattle nearly crawls out of aquarium display

SEATTLE (REUTERS) - A giant male octopus caught on cell phone video scaling his glass display tank at the Seattle Aquarium and reaching several tentacles over its open top has sparked Internet speculation that the massive mollusc was trying to mount an escape bid.

But aquarium officials say the octopus, named Ink, was not attempting a jailbreak in the video, which has gone viral on the Internet, but simply learning to embrace his new home with all eight arms.

"It was not an escape attempt," aquarium spokesman Tim Kuniholm said of the video, in which Ink inched his way up the cylindrical glass tank to squeals from onlookers. "It's a new exhibit and the animal was exploring his boundaries."

A Seattle aquarium employee later put Ink's arms back inside the case, and a so-called "evening cap" was fastened on top to help keep the curious fellow in place, Kuniholm said.

"Octopuses are very inquisitive by nature, and in this case ... Ink is an overachiever," he said.

Ink is one of two new giant Pacific octopuses on display at the aquarium. Found in Puget Sound, they are the world's largest species of octopuses, weighing on average about 41 kg and measuring 6.1 metres across.

Kuniholm said the two male octopuses are kept in separate homes at the aquarium because the species is solitary by nature, with males and females coming together only to mate during their short 3-to-4-year lifespan.

In the next year, Ink will be released back into the wild as part of an ongoing education and conservation program for the species, the aquarium said.

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