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Smart Octopus Takes Camera And Snaps Photos Of Researchers

An octopus used in research at Middlebury College turned the tables, or camera, on humans this week.

Impressive photography skills, octopus. (Benjamin Savard/Middlebury College) Photo/Reddit

Impressive photography skills, octopus. (Benjamin Savard/Middlebury College) Photo/Reddit

The college’s digital media producer, Benjamin Savard, was testing out a Go Pro in the octopus’ tank when the incident happened. Neuroscience students had help him place the camera in the tank, when the California two-spot octopus grabbed it and turned it on Savard before trying to take a bite of the device.

Savard gained attention after he posted the photos on Reddit. The species, called Octopus bimaculoides, are intelligent, friendly, and relatively hardy creatures. But apparently they prefer to work behind the camera.

Students at Middlebury have been studying whether this species can open boxes of food more quickly after watching another octopus do it.

Savard had hoped to shoot some photos and video that he could use to highlight their work.

The octopus had other plans. It grabbed the camera and turned it on Savard, who posted the photos and GIF of the entire sequence on Reddit.

Researchers have been trying to see if this particular octopus can open up boxes of food more quickly after watching other octopuses do it. The species is called Octopus bimaculoides. Otherwise known as a California two-spot octopus, they’re quite intelligent creatures and known to have friendly temperaments. Some, apparently, can exhibit a little sass.

“I was just trying to brainstorm different ideas of how to show off the kind of unique research that’s going on here and in ways that would be engaging,” Savard said. “I think the octopus’s timing was great. I was just in the right place at the right time.”

The octopus then tried to eat the camera, which didn’t really surprise the students in the lab, Savard said. But the photos, which he didn’t see until the following day, were a pleasant discovery.

“I’ll probably use the same GoPro and the same setup once we get a better handle on where we want to go with this video,” Savard said.

The octopus should be proud of it’s work.

Smart Octopus Takes Camera And Snaps Photos Of Researchers.

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From San Diego, California. "Good news is rare these days, and every glittering ounce of it should be cherished and hoarded and worshiped and fondled like a priceless diamond." -Hunter S. Thompson