Ozy's record jar-opening skills

TOM HUNT
Last updated 12:27 13/01/2014
ROBERT KITCHIN/Fairfax NZ

Ozy the ‘‘precocious’’ octopus is a record-breaker after being possibly the first of his species to open a jar in under 60 seconds.

CAN-DO ATTITUDE: It was clear
CAN-DO ATTITUDE: It was clear "responsive and precocious" octopus Ozy would be up to the task.

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Ozy the octopus is a record-breaker after being possibly the first of his species to open a jar in less than 60 seconds.

And don't be put off by the name, Ozy the Orsome Octopus is a Wellingtonian, albeit one sponsored by an ex-pat Brit who right now is travelling through Mexico.

In front of a packed room at the Island Bay Marine Education Centre on Sunday, Ozy managed to open a jar to get at his breakfast, a purple shore crab.

While the feat was nothing new, to do it in less than 60 seconds was a first for the aquarium, marine centre discovery programme manager Julian Hodge said.

"We would like to think it's a world first," he added.

In an attempt to recreate the feat today, Ozy failed to beat the clock, opening the jar and getting the crab in one minute and 43.9 seconds.

Hodge said that far from being a fun - if slightly morbid - viewing attraction, the exercise was part of preparing Ozy to hunt and problem-solve in the wild when he was released off Island Bay in a couple of weeks.

In 2012, Cassandra, another octopus at the marine centre, achieved the same feat, but didn't manage it in under a minute.

After Ozy was brought in by fishermen who had caught him off Lyall Bay eight weeks ago, it was clear the "responsive and precocious" octopus would be up to the task.

And sure enough, with more than 60 people watching yesterday, Ozy did it in less than a minute, thrilling his sponsor and namer, former Dominion Post Capital Day reporter Elle Hunt, Judy Hutt from the marine centre said.

"Ozy glided up to the jar," Hutt posted on Facebook.

"He delicately touched it with one of his arms, then, in a flash, he leapt on top of it. The crowd went wild. Young children screamed. Everyone craned their necks.

"Every eye was on Ozy. Would he be able to do it?

"The time-keeper looked serious. He started counting: 30 seconds, 35 seconds, 40 seconds, 45 seconds, 50 seconds. Oh no, he's not going to make it!!! All that training down the drain. Elle will be so disappointed.

"Then Ozy looked up at the crowd, he seemed to smile. The lid of the jar was cast aside and Ozy had the crab in his grip. Everyone cheered.

"The time keeper said 'It's official – 54 seconds'."

Speaking from Mexico, Hunt said she was proud of the octopus' achievement and looked forward to seeing him when she returned to New Zealand.

"Best $20 I've ever spent," she said.

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- The Dominion Post

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