Animals are known for sensing and fleeing from natural disasters before they happen. Octopi are especially heralded for their intelligence, displayed through their ability to open jars and predict World Cup matches. So when one octopus, let alone a group of octopi, start acting irregularly, it’s wise to take notice.
That is exactly what’s currently happening in Wales: odd octopi behavior.
According to The Guardian, for several nights in a row, curled octopi have been crawling out of the ocean in groups of 20 or so to flounder on the sand of the Welsh beach New Quay. The abnormal behavior has caused several of the cephalopods to die on the shore.
“It was a bit like an end of days scenario,” Brett Jones, a dolphin tour leader who witnessed the unsettling spectacle, told BBC News. “There were probably about 20 or 25 on the beach. I have never seen them out of the water like that.”
Jones, who is familiar with octopi behavior, also said it is rare for an octopus to leave the water for the beach. He believes they might be reacting to the lights on the shore or that the cephalopods could be confused by the recent storms in the area.
Knowing their place is not on the sand or in town, Jones and other locals have been trying to help the octopi by carrying them back to the water. Normally, a curled octopus can be found 2 to 3 meters below the surface, cozied up against rocks on the ocean floor.
James Wright, the curator at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth, agrees that the recent weather could be the cause for this dangerous migration, telling The Telegraph: “As the areas where they are exhibiting this odd behavior coincides with the two areas hit by the two recent low pressure depressions and associated storms of Ophelia and Brian, it could be supposed that these have affected them. It could simply be injuries sustained by the rough weather itself or there could be a sensitivity to a change in atmospheric pressure.”
Until a less murky answer arises; keep calm and carry on.