Kind Divers Spend Hours Helping an Octopus Trade a Plastic Cup for a Protective Shell

Coconut Octopus Plastic Cup Video by Pall Sigurdsson

It’s no secret that the ocean is becoming more and more contaminated with plastic waste. And while humans are to blame, it’s the sea creatures that have to cope with the consequences. In a recent video shot by diver Pall Sigurdsson, a tiny coconut octopus (aka veined octopus) swimming in the waters of Lembeh, Indonesia was captured taking shelter inside a disposable plastic cup.

The coconut octopus is known for instinctually protecting itself with shells and other natural items found under the sea, but this particular creature had sadly found refuge in the most unnatural of places. Luckily though, Sigurdsson and his team were on the scene to lend a hand. They spent hours under water to make sure their new friend found a suitable shell to call home.

“We spent a whole dive and most of our air saving this octopus from what was bound to be a cruel fate,” says Sigurdsson. “While a shell is a sturdy protection, a passing eel or flounder would probably swallow the cup with the octopus in it, most likely also killing the predator or weakening it to a point where it will be soon eaten by an even bigger fish.”

The video shows how Sigurdsson and the other divers offered the octopus many shells, before it finally swapped out its plastic cup with the perfect one. “We tried for a long time to give it shells hoping that it would trade the shell,” he explains. “Coconut octopus are famous for being very picky about which shells they keep so we had to try with many different shells before it found one to be acceptable.”

Diver Pall Sigurdsson and his team helped this tiny coconut octopus trade his plastic cup for a the perfect protective shell.

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

All photos via Pall Sigurdsson.

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Emma Taggart

Emma Taggart is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. Originally from Northern Ireland, she is an artist now based in Berlin. After graduating with a BA in Fashion and Textile Design in 2013, Emma decided to combine her love of art with her passion for writing. Emma has contributed to various art and culture publications, with an aim to promote and share the work of inspiring modern creatives. While she writes every day, she’s also devoted to her own creative outlet—Emma hand-draws illustrations and is currently learning 2D animation.
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