Inky the octopus
Inky the octopus escaped after finding the lid of his tank had been left ajar National Aquarium of New Zealand

Inky, one of the two octopuses at the National Aquarium of New Zealand in Napier, saw a chance at freedom and took it. The cephalopod managed to escape through a small gap in his tank and slithered out and down a narrow six-inch drainpipe that led straight to Hawke's Bay, on the east coast of New Zealand's North Island.

Aquarium manager Rob Yarrell was surprised by the escape and doubts that Inky will ever return. The escape occurred a couple of months back but news of it emerged only recently. "He managed to make his way to one of the drain holes that go back to the ocean and off he went — didn't even leave us a message," Yarrell told Radio New Zealand. "Once back out to sea, he would have headed off towards the reef and that would be his life. He would be quite happy out there. We wouldn't go try and track him down."

He and the other staff at the aquarium, however, are still going to miss the eight-armed escape artist. "Inky really tested the waters here. I don't think he was unhappy with us, or lonely, as octopus are solitary creatures. But he is such a curious boy, he would want to know what's happening on the outside. That's just his personality."

When staff arrived the morning after the escape, they found an empty tank and octopus tracks on the floor. "The staff and I have been pretty sad. But then, this is Inky, and he's always been a bit of a surprise octopus," said Yarrell, adding that the aquarium does not plan to launch a search for the runaway.

The staff are now hoping that Inky's escape doesn't set an example for the other remaining octopus, Blotchy. "Yes, we'll be watching the other one," the aquarium manager told Hawkes Bay Today.