They open jars, steal our stuff, snatch birds for their dinner (we're not kidding) and generally terrify us with their uncanny intelligence – so a clandestine aquarium breakout is just another cephalopod conquest that doesn't really surprise us much.

An octopus nicknamed "Inky" is grabbing headlines after pulling off a daring escape from the National Aquarium of New Zealand in Napier. Inky, a male common octopus (Octopus vulgaris), fled his tank three months ago, but news of his disappearance is only just doing the rounds.

According to Radio New Zealand, the crafty cephalopod made his bid for freedom after the lid of his tank was accidentally left ajar during some maintenance work. All that was left for aquarium staff to find the following day was a telltale trail where Inky had manoeuvred himself towards a nearby drainpipe. 

"Being an aquarium, we have drains dotted all over the place in case of large leaks or spillages, and we draw water from the ocean, we use it and then we send it back again. Inky managed to make his way to one of these drain holes that go back to the ocean and off he went," says aquarium manager Rob Yarrall.

How do octopuses squeeze themselves through such small openings? Having no bones helps. Their beaks are the hardest part of their squishy bodies, so if the beak fits, the rest of animal can too. 

After finding Inky missing, staff checked the pipework he'd used to climb down, but the captive was long gone. "He didn't even leave us a message," adds Yarrall.

Of course, we suspect Inky's great escape was a carefully orchestrated mission, and he's now rejoined his tentacled brethren to plan our downfall. 

And if you find yourself in awe of their tentacled talents, here are eight more reasons to be impressed:


Top header image: Joachim S. Müller, Flickr