Skip to Main Content

Octopi: Coconut-Carrying Geniuses

Written by PETA | December 15, 2009

Here’s a phenomenon that’ll stick in your memory like an octopus sticks to a … coconut shell:


scienceblogs / CC
Click here for video


With the recent discovery that the veined octopus sometimes carries around a coconut shell to use as impromptu shelter, this eight-legged wonder is now the first known tool-using animal without a backbone. According to the biologists who made the discovery, the use of tools to build shelter is such a complicated skill that even some of smartest animals, like chimpanzees, can’t do it. (Um, the only self-enclosing “skill” I have is my sofa-cushion fort-building ability, which hasn’t been tapped since 1994—so who knows if it’s still even in me.)

Octopi are brilliant animals with sensitive short-term and long-term memories and a complex brain, so it’s no surprise that their capabilities are extensive and intricate—from mastering mazes to distinguishing between different shapes. And their intelligence runs in their extended cephalopod family. Squids send messages via dermal patterns of light and color, so think twice before you eat calamari again—those are fried little Einsteins on your plate! If scientists have only just now discovered the tool-using skills of octopi, imagine all of the other talents these mollusk marvels and their relatives have got up their tentacles.

Written by Logan Scherer

Commenting is closed.
  • Anonymous says:

    I wouldn’t eat octopi they’ve been proven time and time again to be very intelligent. Squid however aren’t nearly as bright and I have no qualms about eating them.

  • Kat says:

    It’s “octopuses” not “octopi”. I work in environmental education and my partner is a latingreek expert. I would not mislead on this one.

  • Sarah says:

    I clicked the video link and couldn’t help but laugh at the sight of an octopus hunched up under a coconut shell. That was adorable!

  • Brandon Becker says:

    Thanks for highlighting the cognitive abilities of these seadwelling animals. Many discount octopuses because they are invertebrates but they want to live just like all other animals! Please don’t eat “calimari” or anything else that comes from an animal for that matter!

  • Sonja says:

    Cuteness incarnate! Octopi are fun aren’t they? The internet helps educate people all over the world that we are all one we all share the earth with one another and let us appreciate those sentient beings who inhabit the planet along side of our rather egotistical species! So refreshing to see this little guy!

  • Rad_Rosa89 says:

    I have never seen octopi like that before wow!! They are just so smart and people need to see this they think animals are stupid when we ourselves are animals and we are not stupid. After watching that video on the bottom of that page I know know that they have no bones in their bodies and even the biggest one can fit through a little tube with no problem at all. Thanks for posting this PETA!!!

  • Joyce says:

    These eightlegged octopi are a true blessing to mother nature just like any living creatures on earth.

  • Brien Comerford says:

    The omnipotent Creator with all his infinite wisdom ensured that the world would be permeated with a plethora of creatures each having their own niche beneficial to its respective ecosystem.