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Why the Octopus Walked

The web is crawling with video of an octopus climbing out of the ocean for a painstaking walk over the rocks before sliding back into a ocean. Along the way, she drops a crab. Onlookers say she was leaving them a gift. (Why do we we humans assume everything is about us?)

So what was really going on? Julian Finn, a senior curator of marine invertebrates at the Museum Victoria in Australia explains it to Katherine Harmon at Scientific American:

Why would an octopus struggle across land, when its boneless body seems so unfit for moving out of water? For the chance to find some tasty shellfish and snails, most likely. When the tide goes down, “many octopus species emerge to hunt in the pools of water left behind by the receding tide,” Finn notes.

And why did she drop the crab?

“Octopuses often carry prey items when foraging, returning to their lairs to consume them,” Finn says. “It is possible that the octopus in the video was either finished consuming the contents of the crab or was too tired to continue carrying it on land.”

Well, at least the shell was a gift!