Nearly two dozen swift-armed cephalopods were filmed taking a moonlit stroll on the shore in Ceredigion, Wales.
Some octopuses enjoy scrambling across the rocks to plunge-in and plunder nearby tide pools for food, but what happened last week on New Quay beach in Cardigan Bay, Wales, was an entirely different scenario.
Brett Stones, who owns SeaMôr Dolphin Watching Boat Trips, described how after completing a tour he saw something moving on the sand. Upon closer inspection, he realized that it was an octopus, and it was not alone.“It was a bit like an end-of-days scenario,” he told BBC News.
"They were coming out of the water and crawling up the beach," he told Wales Online.
Knowing that they wouldn't survive too long out of the water and feeling like they needed to do something, he and a cadre of rescuers scooped up some 25 of the wayway cephalopods and released them back into the sea from the end of a pier.
"Perhaps it's because the sea has been quite rough recently, but I've never seen anything like it before." he said.
Of the strange affair, the Washington Post reports:
"Graham Pierce, a research scientist at Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas in Vigo, Spain, said the beached animals are most likely curled octopuses, or Eledone cirrhosa, which he said are characterized by a single row of suckers along the arms.
He said there could be several reasons that they moved on to the beach, including spawning, weather and water temperatures."
James Wright from the National Marine Aquarium in the United Kingdom, told the Daily Telegraph and Newsweek that the number of octopuses seen on the same beach at the same time is “quite odd.”
“But them even being found in the intertidal is not common and suggests there is something wrong with them, I am afraid,” he said.
“As the areas where they are exhibiting this odd behavior coincides with the two areas hit by the two recent low-pressure depressions and associated storms of Ophelia and Brian, it could be supposed that these have affected them. It could simply be injuries sustained by the rough weather itself or there could be a sensitivity to a change in atmospheric pressure.”
Whatever siren song it was that inspired these smart creatures to head for the shore, we can only hope it was a passing thing. As much as we love seeing octopuses, we would really prefer for them to stay in the sea where they are safe and sound.