World Cup Octopus Intrigue Goes Tentacular

Just in case you’ve been in a deep coma for the past month, there’s a World Cup going on, and the main protagonist of this planetary event is an octopus.

You may now return to your coma.

More? Okay, the octopus in question is called Paul and lives in a German aquatic park. He is a cephalopod, which means “squirmy creature of the deep” in pidgin Greek.
Favorite food: oysters.
Favorite color: cephalopods are color-blind, duh.
Favorite hobby: choosing the winner of every world cup game Germany has played with 100% accuracy, including Germany’s epic defeat against Spain in semifinals.

Paul is now officially the most popular German octopus in Spain. And Spaniards just LOVE their cephalopods… boiled and served in slices with olive oil and paprika. So Paul has no plans to emigrate to Spain any time soon, despite his newfound popularity. His agents insist he is happy in Germany, where he lives in peace and harmony in an octopus’ garden in the shade. Or did until the bookie cartel put a price on his head and each of his eight legs for screwing with the odds.

UPDATE: Paul just chose Spain as the world cup winner against Holland! This makes Paul president Zapatero’s best political ally right now… in fact, during his 35-minute speech to the European Parliament yesterday, Zapatero spent 27 minutes speaking of Paul the octopus, 6 minutes speaking of the crisis in Spain and 2 minutes arching his eyebrows at the audience.

Not that Paul is the only smart octopus in Germany. reports on octopus Otto, the original cephalopodic juvenile delinquent.

Otto, the other smart German oktopi, ya?

At the Sea Star Aquarium in Coburg, Germany, an octopus named Otto caused trouble by short-circuiting the power to the entire facility after disabling his tank’s lamp. Otto had apparently grown weary of the bright light shining into his tank, so he cultivated a technique to stop it: by climbing up to the tank’s edge, Otto fired a carefully aimed projectile water blast at the 2000 Watt light, which in turn turned off all of the tanks’ lights.

Otto’s Past

According Sea Star Aquarium director Elfriede Kummer, this is not the first time Otto has been a trouble maker. One time Otto was seen “juggling the hermit crabs” in his tank. On another occasion Otto hurled rocks at his tank’s window, which damaged it. Additionally, when the tank doesn’t quite suite his mood, Otto will apparently rearrange the objects inside. Kummer suggested that it may be time to pay more attention to Otto, and give him more toys to play with.

Now, what is up with all this octopussy being smarter than your average investment bankster? Is it because they’re German? Ya, our oktopi are smarter than your oktopi!

Nein! Actually, cephalopods are a whole lot smarter than you may have been led to believe. But then again, so are fungi. So much for what we have been led to believe.

So, believe it or not, there he is. And he could privately give a flying f*ck about the odds. See you on the other side of Holland, Pulpo Paul!

If you enjoy the squirminess, please take a minute to meet Paul’s cousin, the Indonesian Mimic Octopus. He’s pretty sharp too!

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