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Octopus gets in a twist over shrimp


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MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) -- An octopus in a German zoo has learned to open jars of shrimp by watching zoo attendants perform the act underwater.

Frida, a five-month-old female octopus, opens the jars by pressing her body on the lid and grasping the sides with the suckers on her eight tentacles. With a succession of body twists she unscrews the lid.

"Depending on how tight the lid is, it takes her anything from 10 seconds to an hour to get it off," said Frank Mueller, head of the aquarium at the Hellabrunn Zoo. Frida opens shrimp jars before the public at feeding time twice a week.

Mueller said he taught Frida the trick after he remembered seeing octopuses showing remarkable dexterity off the coast of Morocco, where he went diving when he was younger. Frida was imported from Morocco.

"We just did it in the tank a few times and eventually she cottoned on," he said. "You won't see any other marine creatures do this. She's been at it about a month now."



Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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