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Diver Convinces Baby Octopus To Give Up His Plastic Cup In Exchange For A Shell

Not a day goes by without a news story about how waste finds its way into our beautiful oceans. With each such story, however, more and more efforts are dedicated to turning the tide on water pollution.
Today, conservationists estimate that the waste count is in the trillions, amounting to over 260,000 tons of plastic waste alone roaming wild in the oceans. Not only do the different kinds of plastics and paint pollute the waters themselves, but are also hazardous to ocean life that swallows or gets caught in them.
This is, however, a feel-good story that serves as an example (and a reminder!) of how we ought to take care of our ocean life. A video surfaced that shows how scuba divers in Lembeh, Indonesia are convincing a baby veined octopus to switch “homes”—from a transparent plastic cup to a couple of seashells.

Pall Sigurdsson & other divers stumbled upon a baby octopus in a plastic cup

Image credits: Pall Sigurdsson
Image credits: Pall Sigurdsson
Bored Panda got in touch with one of the divers, Pall Sigurdsson. Sigurdsson is an engineer and diving enthusiast from Iceland who enjoys filming animals that he encounters during his underwater adventures.
When asked about his encounter with the baby octopus, he explained: “This was our third dive that day, and we were all starting to get a little bit tired. My dive buddy sent me a hand signal indicating that he had found an octopus and asked me to come over for help.”
Image credits: Pall Sigurdsson

The team was so dedicated to helping the octopus that they almost ran out of air

“I am no stranger to seeing octopi making homes out of trash. They are clever animals and use their environment to their advantage, and trash is a permanent part of their environment now,” continued Sigurdsson. “However the octopus with its soft tentacles did not know that this cup offers virtually no protection, and in a competitive environment like the ocean, this cup was a guaranteed death sentence.”
Sigurdsson and other divers were so dedicated to helping this little veined octopus that they spent their entire dive and much of their oxygen to the cause. In the end, they were successful in persuading the new-found friend to switch “real-estate”.
Image credits: Pall Sigurdsson

They offered a number of shells until the veined octopus finally picked one

Image credits: Pall Sigurdsson
Veined octopi are born with the instinct to protect themselves by scavenging for coconut or clamshells to make a mobile home from. Hence, they are sometimes called coconut octopi.
However, in the absence of natural materials, they also go for whatever they found on the ocean bed, like empty plastic cups or containers.
This not only means that the octopus is left vulnerable to predators because of the transparent plastic, but it also means that predators would eat the octopus together with the plastic.
The predator would quite likely also die or be weakened to a degree where a bigger predator may swoop in for an easy kill, continuing the plastic pollution cycle.
Image credits: Pall Sigurdsson
We asked Sigurdsson if trash is a common occurrence in his diving experience. “There are good days, and there are bad days depending on ocean currents. Some days, you see so much trash that it is almost impossible to film sea creatures without also including trash.”
“I try as hard as I can to make people see the ocean when it looks its best. Once I saw a family of anemone fish living next to a corroded battery. That was heartbreaking,” sighed Sigurdsson.

The adorable octopus almost forgot his other half of the shell

Image credits: Pall Sigurdsson
Image credits: Pall Sigurdsson
Plastic is the primary pollutant in oceans and everyone has the potential to make the oceans a better place to live for everyone. Sigurdsson elaborated on this by saying “Most trash (including plastic) sinks. Most people only talk about the parts that they can see. The part that floats, but that’s just scratching the surface of the problem. Plastic straws are a minuscule part of the problem.”

Here’s the full clip of Sigurdsson and his team persuading the octopus to switch “real estate”

Image credits: Pall Sigurdsson

Here’s how the people of the internet reacted to this feel-good video

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