First it was Free Willy – now it’s Free Inky!

Staff at New Zealand’s National Aquarium discovered that Inky the octopus was missing from his tank. But it wasn’t a mystery for long – “telltale suction cup prints” showed a trail that led to a drain through which the marine creature made his way back to the ocean.

According to an April 13 story in the Washington Post, Inky “slipped through a gap left by maintenance workers at the top of his enclosure and, as evidenced by the tracks, made his way across the floor to a six-inch-wide drain. He squeezed his football-sized body in — octopuses are very malleable, aquarium manager Rob Yarrall told the New Zealand website Stuff — and made a break for the Pacific.”

According to the Post article, “The cephalopod version of ‘Shawshank Redemption’ took place three months ago,” but it only became public recently. “Inky, who already had some local renown in the coastal city of Napier, quickly became a global celebrity cheered on by strangers. Inky had resided at the aquarium since 2014, when he was taken in after being caught in a crayfish pot, his body scarred and his arms injured.”

One acquarium staff member said that Inky was “getting used to being at the aquarium” but added that staff would “have to keep Inky amused or he will get bored.”

Apparently Inky got bored.

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