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Octopus opens valve, floods Santa Monica aquarium

February 26, 2009 |  4:54 pm

Octupus An octopus today managed to pry loose a water-control valve at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, flooding the facility with more than 200 gallons of saltwater.

The valve is inside the sea creature's tank, and officials think the octopus grabbed hold of it while exploring.

"It found something loose and just pulled on it," said Tara Treiber, the aquarium's education manager. "They are very smart creatures."

A worker arriving this morning found water overflowing out of the tank and "a lovely little lake" on the floor — about 3 inches of water that damaged newly installed carpets, as well as walls and facades, Treiber said.

The damage could have been much worse had workers discovered the open valve later — potentially harming the sea life inside, Treiber said.

The female California two-spotted octopus has been housed at the aquarium for two months, she said.

"They are solitary but curious creatures," Treiber said.

—Andrew Blankstein

Photo: The octopus believed to have flooded Santa Monica's aquarium.

Credit: Tara Crow / Heal the Bay