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Cheeky octopus foils marine scientists' efforts to probe fish feeding habits - by stealing their entire bait box


What's this then? The curious octopus swims straight up to the bait box dropped into the water by marine conservationists

These incredible pictures show how a cheeky octopus foiled the efforts of marine researchers to investigate the feeding habits of sea life.
The researchers dropped a bait cage into the waters of False Bay, Cape Town, as part of a survey of creatures living off the coast of South Africa.
But they didn't count on this thieving invertebrate sneaking along and not only stealing the food, but taking away the entire cage itself.

Getting to grips with it: The invertebrate wraps its tentacles around the bait box to examine it in more detail

Remarkable video footage of the heist shows the widely studied intelligence of octopuses, which is such that in British animal testing laws they are regarded as 'honorary vertebrates' and afforded rights not generally extended related species.
It shows schools of fish swimming around the cage, attracted by the bait it is ejecting into the surrounding waters. All seems fairly mundane, until the octopus floats along and wraps its tentacles around the cylinder.

Yank, pull, heave! The octopus envelops the box in its entirety while yanking on the chain that connects it to the scientists' boat above

The tenacious animal envelops the contraption entirely, tugging on the chain connecting the cylinder to the researchers' boat above and bracing itself against the sea floor for leverage.
It wrestles with the box for some time, no doubt scoffing any food it is ejecting while thwarting the hapless fish who hope to pick up any scraps left behind.
Then, as suddenly as it appeared, the octopus swims off, with the bait box securely in its grip - leaving a lonely chain anchored to the sea floor and the marine biologists facing a bill for new equipment.

Mine now! The creature scoots off, leaving the Save Our Seas Foundation with a bill for some new equipment

The incredible scene was witnessed by marine biologists funded by the Save Our Seas foundation who deployed their Baited Remote Underwater Video (BRUV) system in False Bay to investigate the decline of sea life in the area.
Lauren de Vos, a research assistant at the University of Cape Town’s Marine Research Institute, explained on the Save Our Seas blog how the aim of the study is to develop an understanding of the conservation status of fish in the area, which has been heavily exploited by man for nearly two centuries.

False Bay, off Cape Town, South Africa, where the video was recorded by marine conservationists

source: dailymail