Octopus intelligence: Here are 13 of the most frighteningly smart things they can do.
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Prepare to meet your match, humans: The otherworldly, intelligent octopus.

Octopus. Photo by Jens Petersen/Wikimedia Commons.


We've been poking at these wily mini-sea monsters with sticks, shutting them inside aquarium tanks, and grilling them with slices of lemon for thousands of years. But did we ever stop to consider how clever the octopus truly is?

Turns out, this creature's brain not only makes it the world's most intelligent invertebrate but, according to some measures, as smart as a golden retriever.

(OK, OK, yes. I hear your screaming, scientists. Comparing octopus intelligence to mammal intelligence is a dubious proposition, but the point is, they're really freaking smart.)

Combine that with their eight tentacles, each of which has a mind of its own (seriously), and you've got a force to be reckoned with.

Still not convinced? Here are 13 startlingly brilliant things that octopuses appear to be able to do that no creature so goopy and gangly should be able to do.

1. Octopuses* can bust out of their aquarium tanks and find their way back to the ocean.


By now, you've probably heard the story of Inky, the New Zealand octopus that got bored sitting in an aquarium being gawked at by cranky, field-tripping children and escaped via a drainage tube that led back to the sea. It's hard not to shake the feeling that he's seen too much and we're doomed.

*Right about now, you're probably flexing your fingers, gleefully preparing to type "Um, don't you mean octopi?" into that tantalizingly eager comment field, experiencing the delicious rush stoked by the opportunity to telling a stranger on the Internet just how wrong he really is. However, while "more than one octopus = octopi" is indeed every fifth graders favorite fun fact — and our fifth graders deserve all the support and encouragement in the world — "octopuses" is also correct, and that's the one we like best. Check it out.

2. They can slip their entire body through a hole the size of a medium-length hardcover novel.

GIF via Zena Cardman/YouTube.

Oh, you think you've got one over on that "helpless" octopus sliding around the deck of your boat. Uh uh, my friend. Once he finds an opening that roughly equals the lengthwise dimensions of a book that's slightly shorter than "Freedom" but a little bit longer than "The Road," that guy is gone like the wind.

3. Octopuses can open jars. From the inside.

No one keeps Baby in a jar.

GIF via Beata Svengt/YouTube.

4. Octopuses can open jars. From the outside.

However, Baby will get down with a jar to consume the poor unsuspecting creature hiding inside for dear life while holding the lid victoriously aloft like a trophy.

GIF via fishgurl35/YouTube.

5. Octopuses have also been known to defend themselves with rocks.

Come at me, bro. Photo by Sylkie Rohrlach/Flickr.

Cephalopod intelligence researcher Jennifer Mather reports observing octopuses building stone defensive structures outside their dens to protect themselves while they sleep.

Likely, these will be the battlements humans will be storming if the forces of humanity aren't too devastated by the initial octo-assault to counterattack.

6. They can take apart the plumbing of their own tanks, causing sweet, soggy mayhem.

Artists rendering. GIF via Nickelodeon/YouTube.

It happened in Santa Monica, where an octopus commandeered a water recycling valve and proceeded to wreak havoc on the aquarium's new eco-sensitive floor.

An innocent mistake? Or the start of a complex financial scheme that involves forcing the world's aquariums to accrue massive debt on floor maintenance, and hm ... just look who's waiting in the wings with a line of sweet, easy credit:

Let's make a deal, human. Photo by Eistreter/Wikimedia Commons.

A few strings attached, of course.

7. Octopuses have been seen jumping up on land to ambush unsuspecting prey.

GIF via CNN/YouTube.

Sure, he's taking a risk. He definitely can't survive up there for long. But killing is just that important to him.

8. They've also been known to turn out the lights for their own petty amusement.

Hellllloooo? Photo by Eric March/Upworthy.

At least, that's what an octopus in Germany did, just to mess with aquarium employees. Once he figured out that shooting water at an overhead spotlight would cause the simple humans below to scramble around like chickens with their heads cut off, that's exactly what he did. Again and again and again.

Yes, for these whimsically sadistic creatures, life is a laugh track, and we are the punchline.

9. Octopuses have been spotted making tools out of coconuts and shells.


Image by Nick Hobgood/Wikimedia Commons.

We've only known they could do this for about five years. And we've been readying our machete and flexi-straw-based defenses ever since.

10. They can also mimic other deadly sea creatures to scare the bejeezus out of potential predators.

A seemingly ordinary poisonous water snake? An octopus? You WILL NEVER KNOW. (OK, this actually is snake. But now you're on your toes! And you should be!) Photo by Jon Hanson/Flickr.

At least some species of octopus can camouflage themselves so well they look like poisonous fish or snakes to their enemies.

Why they would want to do this — considering that they are already terrifying octopuses — is unclear.

11. Octopuses have also been known to kill sharks.

Here, the octopus does so with a sneaky pre-emptive strike.

GIF via National Geographic/YouTube.

Aquarium employees put a shark and an octopus in the same tank. This did not sit well with the octopus.

Octopus solution: Strangle the shark in cold blood. Obviously.

12. They've also been known to escape their tanks to eat a fish in an adjacent tank and then return to their own tanks before anyone notices.

No walls can contain me! Image by WingedWolfPoison/Wikimedia Commons.

A number of these stories have been reported over the years (dating all the way back to the 1875), and some claim they're apocryphal, but this particular one appears to have actually happened in Boston in the 1980s.

According to aquarium employees, a giant Pacific octopus was caught leaving its enclosure and ambling a few feet to the next tank over, enticed by a number of rare, expensive fish that had been brought in.

For a $14 appetizer, that's really next level.

13. Octopuses have accidentally documented themselves stealing our video cameras to cover up evidence of their crimes.

GIF via Victor's Videos/YouTube.

We have the footage. We know what they're up to. And yet, we're probably powerless to prevent it.

Bear in mind: These facts are just what we actually know about octopus intelligence. There is clearly still a lot to learn and understand about them.

All in all, they're pretty fascinating creatures, and sharing the Earth with them is pretty awesome. 

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

When the COVID-19 pandemic socially distanced the world and pushed off the 2020 Olympics, we knew the games weren't going to be the same. The fact that they're even happening this year is a miracle, but without spectators and the usual hustle and bustle surrounding the events, it definitely feels different.

But it's not just the games themselves that have changed. The coverage of the Olympics has changed as well, including the unexpected addition of un-expert, uncensored commentary from comedian Kevin Hart and rapper Snoop Dogg on NBC's Peacock.

In the topsy-turvy world we're currently living in, it's both a refreshing and hilarious addition to the Olympic lineup.

Just watch this clip of them narrating an equestrian event. (Language warning if you've got kiddos nearby. The first video is bleeped, but the others aren't.)

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