Did You Know

10 Freakishly Smart Things Octopuses Can Actually Do

People have been shutting octopuses inside aquariums, grilling them, and eating them but rarely do we stop and think about how smart they really are.

It is a well-known fact that octopuses are freakishly intelligent. Oh, you didn’t know? Well, now you do. People have been shutting these creatures inside aquariums, grilling them, and eating them but rarely do we stop and think about how smart they really are. According to research octopuses are the smartest vertebrae in the world, and also as smart as a golden retriever.

Guess you might start seeing your pet dog’s face every time you look at a plate with grilled octopus in it from now on, eh? Well, you should not, because comparing their intelligence to that of mammals is a huge stretch, and it works in different ways. Still, we can’t deny being impressed after finding out everything octopuses can do. Here is a list of the most impressive feats:

They Know How To Prank People

An octopus that was trapped there realized that it can turn off the lights by squirting water on them and that it would make the people panic.

While this is based on a singular case, who is to say that it wouldn’t happen with other octopuses? The case we are talking about happened in Germany, in an aquarium. An octopus that was trapped there realized that it can turn off the lights by squirting water on them and that it would make the people panic. It continued to repeat it over and over again as if it was having fun. 

They Are Able To Find Their Way Home

Breaking out of an aquarium and getting to the ocean is not something you would expect an octopus to do.

Seems easy when your home is the entire ocean, doesn’t it? Still, breaking out of an aquarium and getting to the ocean is not something you would expect an octopus to do. Well, it did happen, in New Zealand, where an octopus escaped an aquarium and got back to the ocean using a drainage tube. Color us impressed!

They Can Jump Up On Land

Seeing an octopus jump out of the water to catch its prey at extreme speed looks almost surreal.

They do it to hunt their prey. While this might make them seem less intelligent, considering the fact that they won’t survive for long if they remain outside of the water, it is still an impressive feat. Seeing an octopus jump out of the water to catch its prey at extreme speed looks almost surreal.

They Can Open Jars

Octopuses trapped inside of a jar can rotate their bodies and open up the lid without any help.

Well, they can do so from the inside, but it is still impressive! I mean, can you open up a jar from the inside? Probably not. There are plenty of videos showing this, but it always looks astounding. Octopuses trapped inside of a jar can rotate their bodies and open up the lid without any help. This makes them more capable than many humans!

They Can Kill Sharks

An octopus can actually kill a shark if it jumps at it and surprises it.

Of course, an element of surprise is needed, but that only goes to show how well they can use their intelligence. But yes, an octopus can actually kill a shark if it jumps at it and surprises it. Guess we were making horror films about the wrong sea creatures all along, huh?

They Can Crawl Through Extremely Small Spaces

Their bodies are so elastic that they can completely pass through small holes, despite looking quite large from the outside.

Once octopuses are captured on a boat, all might seem over for them. However, if they are able to find an opening that is roughly the size of a book, they can easily escape. Their bodies are so elastic that they can completely pass through small holes, despite looking quite large from the outside.

They Can Make Tools

This was recently discovered, but it seems like octopuses can actually make simple tools out of shells and coconuts.

This was recently discovered, but it seems like octopuses can actually make simple tools out of shells and coconuts. The tools are mostly used for hiding when trying to catch food, but it is an undeniable proof of their intelligence.

They Can Build Forts

It was observed that several octopuses used rocks to create defensive structures.

Seriously, it was observed that several octopuses used rocks to create defensive structures. They mostly build these structures outside of their dens which makes them a kind of a defensive mechanism. The goal is to supposedly protect them while they are sleeping. Well, considering the intelligence of other creatures living in the sea, it probably works.

They Can Mimic Other Creatures

Some species of octopuses can camouflage themselves so well that they look almost exactly like snakes or poisonous fish.

Some species of octopuses can camouflage themselves so well that they look almost exactly like snakes or poisonous fish. It may seem surreal but it is true. They do this to fool and scare away their predators. If you ask us, they look scary enough already!

They Can Be Quite Sneaky

A giant octopus was being held inside of an aquarium, when it suddenly decided to go out, eat the fish in the aquarium next to it, and return to its original aquarium before anyone noticed. Image credit: Evikka / Shutterstock.com

As if all of the other examples weren’t already enough proof of this, here is another one that shows how clever octopuses can actually be. There are actually several cases of a similar thing happening over the years. However, we will focus on a particular one that happened in Boston in the 1980s. A giant octopus was being held inside of an aquarium when it suddenly decided to go out, eat the fish in the aquarium next to it, and return to its original aquarium before anyone noticed. This actually makes us feel a bit scared.

About the Author

Antonia is a sociologist and an anglicist by education, but a writer and a behavior enthusiast by inclination. If she's not writing, editing or reading, you can usually find her snuggling with her huge dog or being obsessed with a new true-crime podcast. She also has a (questionably) healthy appreciation for avocados and Seinfeld.

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