A marine biologist in Australia recently captured incredible cephalopod video footage — an octopus rolling a plastic pipe containing its eggs back into the ocean after it had washed ashore.
Sheree Marris was walking along a beach in Melbourne when she happened upon a discarded plastic pipe. Picking it up to examine it, she noticed red legs dangling from the pipe. A mother octopus was hiding inside, covering and protecting her eggs. “She was trying to protect her eggs inside, which were hanging like little white chandeliers from the roof of her makeshift nursery,” said Marris. “It was one of the most remarkable things I have ever seen.”
The video, which has since gone viral, showed the octopus attempting to roll her eggs back into the ocean to safety. After witnessing the octopus’ effort, Marris placed the pipe back into the water and stabilized it to help the struggling mama.
Mother octopuses are extremely maternal and will care for her one and only clutch of eggs until her death. She’ll protect them from hungry fish, crabs, and sea stars, and continuously squirt water over the brood to bathe them in oxygen-rich water. Depending on the species and water temperature, eggs will incubate from two to ten months. After they hatch, she’ll stop eating completely and succumb to her fate. Researchers have even reported observing a female octopus caring for her clutch of eggs for a remarkable 4 1/2 years before dying, starved and exhausted.
Watch the video: