When Ben Savard took snapshots of an octopus at Middlebury College in Vermont on Monday, he had no idea just how smart and cheeky this critter could be.
Savard, a digital media producer, placed a GoPro in a plastic casing to take underwater shots of the cephalopod the school’s neuroscience students had been studying.
“… I set it to take a rapid number of photos per second and, with the help of the neuroscience student behind me in the photos, placed the camera in the octopus tank,” he shares with Mother Nature Network. “We did this a few times with different octopuses and one of the more cheeky cephalopods grabbed the camera and turned it around on me for a quick couple of pictures.”
And a pretty good shot too, as you can see above.
Savard posted the pictures on Reddit, which quickly soared to front-page status by an enthusiastic series of up-votes. Some skeptics claim he staged the shots, to which he replies: “You caught me, Middlebury College is secretly using upvotes instead of food as a reward in its animal research.”
As proof, he also created a GIF of the underwater photoshoot. Fun!
The Octopus with a keen eye for the camera is a California two-spot octopus. Middlebury neuroscience students have been observing to see if this particular species can learn to open boxes with treats inside just as quickly as its other eight-armed cousins.
Octopuses are particularly smart creatures. Scientists have been debating exactly how smart, but they all can agree that this animal is a very quick learner. They’ve been known to take apart objects left floating in their tanks in curiosity, play catch ball with an empty pill bottle and a water jet, and even sneak out of their own aquariums to snack on lumpfish in the opposite aquarium and skitter back to their own just before their humans come back.
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