Kelly Tarlton's octopus learns to take photos

Rambo the octopus at Kelly Tarlton, Auckland, has been taught how to use an underwater camera.

Rambo the octopus at Kelly Tarlton, Auckland, has been taught how to use an underwater camera.

An octopus at an Auckland aquarium is apparently the first in the worldto learn to take photos with an underwater camera.

Kelly Tarlton's octopus Rambo surprised visitors on Friday by snapping their picture from a specially-designed rig, using just her tentacles.

Kelly Tarlton's curator Andrew Christie said he hoped the new experience would help change visitors' perceptions of octopuses.

"We have been able to provide a positive experience for both Rambo and for the public, who will hopefully learn something new about octopuses as result."

Kelly Tarlton's teamed up with animal behaviourist Mark Vette to design the rig and train Rambo to take photos using an underwater camera.

Vette, who is known for his work with SPCA's Driving Dogs, said the result was a culmination of hard work and learning by everyone involved.

"Octopuses rank highly on the scale of animal intelligence. Investigating their environment and learning tasks come very naturally to them."

Teaching Rambo to take pictures also fitted with Kelly Tarlton's goal of enriching the lives of its animals, he said.

Nothing like this had ever been done before so those working with Rambo spent a lot of time observing the octopus in her natural habitat before the training started, Vette said.

Visitors to the aquarium on Friday were able to pay $2 to have their photo taken by Rambo and the proceeds will go to the SEA LIFE Conservation Fund.

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 - Stuff

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