Angry octopus attacks geologist while walking along the shore in Western Australia

Octopus 'stings' on his neck
Octopus ‘stings’ on his neck. Photo: CNN.

In a highly unusual video captured by Lance Karlson, a geologist, the viewing public can see the angriest octopus attacking him. He was left bruised and confused. The attack occurred at Geographe Bay near Margaret River about 155 miles south of Perth.

There are actually two events in this angry octopus behaviour episode. Initially, Lance Karlsson was walking along the shore when he saw what he thought was a stingray lashing out at a seagull. He began filming and then realised that it was a large octopus. It was swimming towards him and his daughter. They were standing in shallow water. You can see the behaviour of the octopus in the video on this page.

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Here is the same video on his Instagram page:

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The video went viral. In a second episode about 20 minutes later, Karlson went for a swim and saw the octopus on a bed of crab shells. He went towards the octopus to examine the shells and felt a whip across his arm. He then felt more forceful stings of across his neck and the top of his back.

He said: “The octopus lashed out at us, which was a real shock. My goggles became fogged, the water was suddenly murky and I remember being shocked and confused. I swam back to shore in pain.”

The tentacles had left stinging red welts on him. They were no painful he said. He is used to being stung by bluebottle jellyfish as he had been a lifesaver in the past. These things are far more painful he said. But it was the shock and fear which upset him.

It is extremely unusual for an octopus to behave in such an aggressive manner researchers commented.

Comment: I can’t help but feel that this octopus is actually thinking about what he or she is doing. They are intelligent animals and if you were trying to interpret the attack as a form of communication to people you would have to come to the conclusion that the octopus does not want people there. So perhaps the octopus has had a bad experience with people or a particular person, perhaps looking a bit like Mr Karlson.

The story is interesting for another reason. A BAFTA nominated documentary is advertised in The Times newspaper today. It is called My Octopus Teacher. The subtitle is: She Made Me Realise Just How Precious Wild Places Are.

I don’t know what the storyline is because I’ve not seen the film. However, I can guess that it is a film about a relationship between octopus and a person and the person learned something about nature and the wild places on the planet which need to be protected from the octopus. There is a link between this film and this octopus attack. The link is nature which is demanding that humankind respects it.

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Speciesism - 'them and us' | Cruelty - always shameful
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Post Category: Marine wildlife