Divers Spend Hours Assisting an Octopus in Converting a Plastic Cup Into a Protective Shell

Every year, more than 300 million tons of plastic are manufactured for use in a wide range of applications. The ocean is becoming increasingly polluted by plastic trash. At least 8 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans every year and makeup 80% of all marine debris from surface waters to deep-sea sediments.

Humans are to fault, of course. Plastic waste is ingested or entangled by marine creatures, resulting in serious injuries and fatalities.

In a video, diver Pall Sigurdsson filmed a tiny coconut octopus (also known as a veined octopus) wandering in the seas of Lembeh, Indonesia, taking shelter inside a throwaway plastic cup. The coconut octopus is notorious for instinctively shielding itself with shells and other natural materials discovered underneath the water, but this particular critter had unfortunately sought sanctuary in the most artificial of locations. Fortunately, Sigurdsson and his staff were on the scene to assist. They spent hours beneath water trying to find a suitable shell for their new companion to call home.

"We spent a whole dive and most of our air saving this octopus from what was destined to be a sad ending," Sigurdsson explains. “While a shell provides some protection, a passing eel or flounder would most likely swallow the cup with the octopus within, killing or weakening the predator to the point where it would be devoured by a larger fish.”

The video shows Sigurdsson and the other divers offering the octopus a variety of shells until it ultimately replaced its plastic cup with the ideal one. "We tried for a long time to offer it shells in the hopes that it would exchange the shell." He continues, “Because coconut octopuses are notorious for being finicky about which shells they maintain, we had to experiment with a variety of shells until it selected one that it liked.”

This small coconut octopus helped diver Pall Sigurdsson and his colleagues swap his plastic cup for the right protective shell.

Pall Sigurdsson: YouTube
H/t: [Laughing Squid]

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