Giant octopus attacks!


Here’s a nifty video (mpg) of an octopus confronting an ROV working off Vancouver Island. The poor thing was just trying to crush and eat an interloper (or perhaps disassemble it for spare parts to use in its high-tech scheme to take over the world), and the ROV operator uses its thrusters to fling debris at it and drive it away.

It’s quite a battle, and the octopus holds on for a surprisingly long time in the face of an extremely obnoxious machine.


  1. Bayesian Bouffant, FCD says

    If tha monster had a couple more tentacles the outcome might have been different.

  2. fwiffo says

    It didn’t look so much like an “attack” to me, though I dare say, I don’t have first hand experience in octopus attacks. He looked like he was just sorta being curious – checking things out.

    Chasing it off with the thrusters didn’t appear to be so mean though. I mean, it’s not like they blugeoned it with a giant radish or anything.

  3. NelC says

    Been trying to link this with James Mason as Captain Nemo in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea… but I need to go do some work now.

  4. jbark says

    Yeah, “attack” seems a bit overstated. But perhaps you had to be there (or know something about octopus behavior).

    The thruster counter-attack seemed harmless enough though.

    The page mentions that a 600 pound specimen was once found – anyone have any links to info on that? Sounds, ahem, fishy.

  5. mothworm says

    You mean this? I don’t think an octopus has ever drowned a man, but the description of the collosctopus is accurate.

  6. jbark says

    Most of the mysteriously huge things that wash ashore turn out to be some sort of decayed whale. A recent example is here:

    I’m inclined to believe that interpretation for the collosctopus as well.

    But that’s different than the claim in the present story that there was simply a very large (600 pound, not 10 ton) specimen of the Pacific Giant Octopus found.

  7. says

    Aw! The octopus was blatantly just having an interested poke around, poor chap.

    (Oh, okay, I admit it. I would just haved loved to see the ocoptus tear apart the ROV.)

    -The Rev. Schmitt.

  8. CanuckRob says

    Years ago a big Pacific octopus used to live near the ferry docks in North Vancouver. Many divers (including me) used to catch a crab or two and take them to the “cave” it lived in and the wonderful creature would come out and take the crabs from our hands. Never heard of an attack by the octopus. I jsut hope that he/she did pass on our scent (or however they recognize divers)to the rest of the future overlords. Even if I can’t be spared at least I will eaten first:) Sure glad I am not the controller of the ROV, the stars are nearly right and Great Cthuhlu will becoming soon.

  9. JohnnieCanuck says

    Now was that the SeaBus terminal in N. Van. or the ferry terminal at Horseshoe Bay?

    For we have come from the West, to worship. Well, from Langdale terminal, to think about the possibility of such a marvelous creature in the waters beneath the ferry.

  10. CanuckRob says

    JohnnieCanuck. It was the Horseshoe Bay terminal, but 30 odd years ago. Eventually the octopus wasn’t there anymore although I was told it was either persuaded to move (or was executed, oh I pity the fool that did that) because it was bringing divers into a dangerous area. I envy you living on the Sunshine Coast, it will be one of the first places to be Eaten. Ia, Ia, Chthulu fhtaghn.

  11. says

    I’m grateful for this discussion, because it is NOT occurring elsewhere.

    This is a science blog, so let’s discuss the value to science of critical examination of the story of this video.

    Do we believe what we’re being told we see, or do we believe what we see?

    Here’s what I see. The octopus ambles up to the submarine, which is a strange object in its environment. The octopus touches the submarine with a tentacle, and less than a second later, it is blasted away with the thrusters by the sub operator.

    Who attacked who here?

    This is like the old story of the emperor’s new clothes, in which everyone is told what they see, and not wanting to appear foolish, they go along with it. This is an appealing story, but there’s no evidence of an attack, and I think that this story may be damaging to science, as it brings up all the old kraken sea monster mythology,

    I gave this video the kid test. I put my young son down in front of the computer screen, and asked him what he saw. Then, I added his comments as an audio track to the video. Here’s the result:

  12. Dave says

    Mr. J. Clifford Cook, what evidence do you have that it was not an attack? I do not for one second think that the media in this case is over blowing this story with the fact that they interviewed some experts for analysis. Did you happen to read up on octopi behaviour yourself? Please do…it is quite interesting and makes sense in relation to this story.