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Octopus Floods Tank at Aquarium: All Await Her Next Act

By M Dee Dubroff     Mar 1, 2009 in Lifestyle
An inquisitive octopus some now call Flo managed to disassemble a valve at the top of her tank at the Santa Monica Aquarium, flooding the place with some 200 gallons of seawater. Read on for more about her wet and very weird tale.
According to news sources, being “handy” has taken on a new definition at the Santa Monica Aquarium for the two-spotted octopus who decided to tackle some plumbing adjustments to its tank without benefit of a plumber. Employees reporting for work at the popular beachfront attraction were caught by surprise when they were greeted by water lapping around the kelp forest display, the shark and ray tank and the rocky reef exhibit.
The Kids’ Corner, where Madame Flo is the star attraction, was flooded with some 200 gallons of seawater. The octopus swam to the top of the enclosure and disassembled the recycling system’s valve. In the words of aquarium education specialist, Nick Fash:
“It had grabbed the tube that pulls out the water and caused it to spray outside the tank. Judging by the size of the flood, the water probably flowed for about 10 hours before the first staff member, Aaron Kind, showed up for work."
Kind issued an all-hands-on-deck call to summon co-workers to the pier with mops, water vacuums and fans. Even though the aquarium is built over the beach, it has no floor drain.
Flo is a tiny octopus, about the size of a human forearm when its appendages are extended. She watched intently through glass walls and portholes as workers struggled to dry the place out in time for the day's first busload of schoolchildren to arrive on a 9:30 a.m. field trip and just floated lazily in the water that remained in her tank.
The octopus is considered by many to be the most intelligent invertebrate and to have good memories. They rigged the tank piping with clamps and tape in hopes of thwarting any further mischief. Without tools, Flo can hopefully do no more damage.
I don’t know, Flo.
What gives?
Have you been nipping more than seawater?
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