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The octopus that figured out how to work a camera

Impressive photography skills, octopus. (Benjamin Savard/Middlebury College)
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Ever get sick of someone trying to snap pictures of you? Take a cue from this octopus and turn the photographer into the subject.

Benjamin Savard, a digital media producer at Middlebury College, had set out to capture some images of an octopus that the school's neuroscience students have been researching, he told The Washington Post. As part of a test run Monday, he placed a GoPro camera into a waterproof casing and set it to automatically take rapid-fire photos. Then, with the help of a neuroscience student, Savard placed the camera into an octopus tank.

The octopus had other plans. It grabbed the camera and turned it on Savard, who posted the photos and GIF of the entire sequence on Reddit.

Researchers have been trying to see if these particular octopuses can open up boxes of food more quickly after watching other octopuses do it. The species is called Octopus bimaculoides. Otherwise known as a California two-spot octopus, they're quite intelligent creatures and known to have friendly temperaments. Some, apparently, can exhibit a little sass.

"I was just trying to brainstorm different ideas of how to show off the kind of unique research that's going on here and in ways that would be engaging," Savard said. "I think the octopus's timing was great. I was just in the right place at the right time."

The octopus then tried to eat the camera, which didn't really surprise the students in the lab, Savard said. But the photos, which he didn't see until the following day, were a pleasant discovery.

"I'll probably use the same GoPro and the same setup once we get a better handle on where we want to go with this video," Savard said.

The octopus should be proud of its work. This is a pretty solid series of photos:


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