Instances of animals stealing cameras aren’t new. Just punch in those keywords into YouTube and you’ll find videos of critters taking off with a camera, but sometimes returning it with some cool footage. However, in a recent incident an underwater videographer encountered, it seems the animal didn’t just want to steal the camera, but had another intention.
On July 6, Joe Kistel, who works for the nonprofit TISIRI marine-conservation agency, was filming at a reef off the coast of Jacksonville, Fla., when he met a particular octopus that’s well known to divers. As Kistel was filming, the octopus grabbed for the camera. During the struggle, what then surprised Kistel was that the octopus was holding a gasket in one of it arms, and it dawned on Kistel that the sea creature was actually dismantling the camera housing. Considering the equipment costs $15,000, Kistel struggled with the octopus some more to retrieve the camera parts from the octopus, which he managed to do so successfully.
When animals steal cameras, it’s usually out of innocent curiosity, but this octopus seems to demonstrate it clearly knew what it was doing. According to a National Geographic interview with marine biologist James Wood, octopuses are one of the more clever rascals of the animal kingdom, and they learn and adapt very quickly. Like a celebrity being hounded by the paparazzi, perhaps this octopus in question was sick of being photographed, and decided enough was enough.
As Kistel was trying to get his gear back, the camera recorded the incident. Check out the video of the struggle below.