March 6, 2009

Octopus squeezes into small box

Staff at the New England Aquarium in Boston said they were stunned when a 7-foot-long octopus squeezed himself into a 14-inch square box.

Officials at the aquarium said the 18-month-old octopus, named Truman, squeezed his 30 pounds of mass through a tiny 2-inch hole on the locked box, which contained a smaller box filled with crabs for the octopus to eat, WBZ, Boston, reported Friday.

Biologist Bill Murphy, Truman's caretaker, said the octopus usually sets to work on the latches of the boxes to free his food, but the apparently impatient invertebrate instead squeezed Thursday into the larger box and enveloped the smaller box containing the crabs.

I start the octopus off with the small box, and once he has mastered that lock I switch to another box, and once he has mastered each individual box, I put a box inside a box to keep him active and challenged, Murphy said.

Truman remained inside the box for about 30 minutes before emerging without having penetrated the smaller box of food, WCVB-TV, Boston, reported. Murphy said the octopus will sometimes save the food for nighttime.