It was like something out of Finding Nemo or The Shawshank Redemption. An octopus escaped an aquarium in New Zealand, leaving behind a trail of inky footprints and a lonely tank mate. The best part of this story is how Inky the octopus made his bid for freedom.
In an impressive feat, the soccer ball-size octopus escaped his tank and squeezed through a 6-inch drainage pipe and out into the Pacific Ocean, eluding aquarium officials and leaving his tank mate behind.
Inky is not alone in his escape. Many animals before him have attempted equally daring breakouts. These are their stories.
Penguin 337 ditches Tokyo zoo for Tokyo Bay
Penguin 337 decided that the artificial pools at Tokyo Sea Life Park didn’t quite measure up to the stories he’d heard about the ocean — or maybe he just wanted to check out Tokyo’s penguin bar.
The Humboldt penguin was raised in captivity, but that didn’t stop him from escaping the 13-foot wall and the barbed wire fence surrounding his enclosure. He managed to keep out of the hands of concerned aquarium staff for months. When they finally recovered the penguin from Tokyo Bay, they were surprised to discover that he appeared to be in good health despite having spent his entire life in captivity.
Wild tiger decides zoo is not for him
The captive tigress at Nandankanan Zoo in India got an unexpected suitor in April of 2013. A wild Bengal tiger arrived on the scene, eager to get better acquainted with his forbidden lover. The zookeepers decided to let him into the female’s enclosure. They spent the next few weeks debating what to do with their newest acquisition, but the tiger in question had other ideas. After a few weeks of rest, relaxation, pleasant company and free food, the tiger miraculously escaped, scaling a nearly two-story security wall and severing the wiring of the security camera on his way out.
We’re not in Kansas anymore
Much like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, in 2005, an African flamingo in the Sedgwick County Zoo in Kansas flew away before zookeepers could stop him. For eight years they’d presumed him lost, although whether or not he’d found Oz was up for debate.
It turns out the pink bird found something better — love. The escaped fowl was discovered by a bird-watcher on the Gulf Coast of Texas with a New World flamingo companion. The bird’s keeper has no plans to recapture the bird.
Running of the bulls — in Jamaica, Queens
Jamaica, Queens, is no place for an escaped bull, but it looked a lot better than the slaughter house to one Angus bull in a holding pen. He escaped, racing down busy streets until he found the welcoming lawns of York College campus. The students were delighted, and after his capture by police, comedian Jon Stewart took pity on this escapee from death row.
Thanks to Stewart, the bull was transported to an animal sanctuary in upstate New York, where presumably he is still entertaining other cattle with tales of his daring escape.
Red panda named Rusty visits D.C.
Rusty the red panda made a name for himself on social media when he escaped his enclosure at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. to tour the nation’s capital. At less than a year old and cute as a button, it comes as no surprise that his escape was short-lived. The entire city participated in a “Panda Red Alert” to find the missing fellow, and he was discovered unharmed later that morning south of the zoo after a woman tweeted some photos of the escaped critter.
South African honey badger wreaks mayhem
Stoffel the honey badger is a regular troublemaker. His keeper, Brian Jones, reports that Stoffel regularly escapes his “badger-proof enclosure” and has taught his female companion to do the same.
The two can open locks, tunnel out from cement, make ladders out of rocks, mud, sticks and rakes and return to their enclosure by the same methods. On his escapes, Stoffel has killed eagles, rabbits and small bucks and has even fought a lion, not to mention terrorized the kitchen staff at a local lodge and rummaged through the guests’ luggage. Nothing, it appears, can stop the honey badger.
February of 2015 saw the epic escape of two llamas in a West Valley retirement community in Arizona. The llamas were brought to the community to visit a retired llama rancher as a form of therapy, but it quickly became apparent that they had other ideas. The duo ran amok through the streets, entertaining newscasters and launching their own Twitter hashtag, #llamasontheloose, before they were finally captured. No humans or llamas were harmed during the llama chase.
Many animals have attempted to escape captivity over the years, but only one animal had a song written about him, his own fan club and numerous T-shirts and bumper stickers in his name.
Ken Allen, an orangutan at the San Diego Zoo, escaped his enclosure three times over his life. On each escape, he strolled the zoo peacefully, pausing now and then to observe his fellow zoo mates. To make matters worse for confounded zookeepers, he seemed to know when he was under surveillance. This did not stop him from teaching other orangutans his tricks, and the zoo eventually spent $40,000 to identify and eliminate every possible escape route.
Bison invade Baltimore gated community
Baltimore commuters got a surprise in 2005 when nine bison wandered off their farm and into the morning rush hour. The bison roamed the streets of Baltimore for several hours, eventually ending up in a gated community, where they were rounded up on a tennis court. The rambunctious buffalo evaded capture for most of the day, leading police cruisers, helicopters and ATVs as they explored the city.
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