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Can a robot octopus help a real octopus escape blacktip sharks?

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In the coral reefs of Indonesia, a coconut octopus is looking for a hiding spot. Blacktip sharks are hunting nearby, and since camouflage won’t workβ€”sharks can detect prey with their sense of smellβ€”there aren’t many options.

blacktip sharks roam
But the octopus in the photo above isn’t the octopus in need. That’s a robot octopus “spy,” an animal mimic with built-in cameras.

Watch as the robot octopus attempts to help the real one by sharing half of a coconut shell, the perfect cover for a hollow bamboo hideout. Will the real octopus take it?

This BBC video clip is from Spy in the Ocean, narrated by David Tennant. Thanks to hidden cameras and robotic “spy creatures,” the four-part nature series can explore animal intelligence up close. It’s available on the BBC iPlayer in the UK and will be available in the states on PBS in the autumn of 2023.

robot octopus meets real octopus
Watch these related octopus and robot videos next:
β€’Β Octopus 101: Communication, breathing, and puzzle-solving
β€’ The blue-ringed octopus communicates and camouflages with its skin
β€’Β An octopus changes its colors and textures as it swims away
β€’Β The animatronic animals of Spy in the Wild
β€’ A robotic spy crab makes its way across Christmas Island
β€’Β Swarming monarchs and a hummingbird spy cam

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