A YouTube video, Octopus Walks on Land at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve is doing the rounds at the moment and generating a bit of online discussion about this fascinating behaviour.
Dr Julian Finn filmed a similar event in Broome a few years back where a small, unnamed octopus (Abdopus sp.) crawled between rock pools at low tide. He says that it's not uncommon for intertidal octopuses to roam between pools in hunt of prey such as crabs or fish. They may also flee their tide pool to escape the attention of bigger, hungrier octopuses! In this video, he explains more about these terrestrial adventures.
Download the Octopus on dry land video video
Watch this video with a transcript
Like all cephalopods, octopuses breathe through gills and won't survive for long out of water. Julian has only seen octopuses crawl over dry land where the chance of them being trapped out of water is minimal. In captivity, it's not unknown for octopuses to turn up in strange places after breaking out of their tanks – including one that was found in a staircase!
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My father arrived in Australia in October 1957 on the Fairsea, so the dates for refit seem odd.