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Octopus and Diver Engage in Tug-o-War Over Camera

A diver in the French Riviera lost his camera and had to wrestle it back from an octopus

A Common Octopus reaches out for a GoPro
Screenshot of Video Courtesy of ViralHog / (

There she was, just minding her own business on the ocean floor when she noticed an invasive interloper. She locked eyes with the prying camera and began reeling it in, methodically trapping it in a cage of tentacles. When the camera’s owner came to retrieve the camera the octopus resisted giving up her confiscated contraband.

On July the 8th, while diving in the French Riviera, where the South East coast of France meets the Mediterranean, a diver left a camera on the ocean floor. It’s not clear why; perhaps to observe our eight-legged friend? Regardless, the octopus, refused to give up her covetous find, wrapping herself all around the camera. A game of tug-o-war then ensued.

Video courtesy of ViralHog /

The contest seemed playful at first; the awkwardly shaped camera proved challenging the octopus and the diver hovered to watch the cephalopod drag it along. But, things became more serious as the octopus began to hoist herself in a getaway with the stolen goods, blending into the rocks and sad to try and lose her pursuer. Pulling along a white cable, the diver sought to match her strength and the tug-o-war begab.

It took several plunges for the diver to recover the camera, with the clip cutting three times to skip through breaks for air. Each subsequent dive met renewed effort, but every time the octopus emerged victorious as the diver surfaced for oxygen. On the third attempt, the diver managed to get a hand on the camera, but the sea-thief shifted to defense. As a probing finger tried to ease the camera out if her clutches, she struck back with the suction cups on her tentacle, forcing the diver to retreat.

On the final attempt, the diver managed to get a better grip on the contested camera and wrangled it to and fro. Finally, with enough torque and force, the camera broke free from the octopus’s clutches and away to safety along with the footage of its unnerving capture in tow. In protest, the octopus kicked up some sand at her adversary but chose not to retaliate.

The video concludes with a shot of the octopus on the ocean floor, almost certainly sulking, and with another puff of sand for good measure.

Photo Courtesy of DL Cade /

The oceanic burglar is a species of octopus known as the Common Octopus or Octopus Vulgaris. Found in temperate and tropical waters around the world, they are carnivores that use their intelligence, natural camouflage on the seafloor, and wells of ink to outwit and outmaneuver prey and predator alike. They live between one and two years and can grow up to three feet in length and 22 pounds.

Frankly, the video kind of creeped me out. The clip opens like a horror film: you, alone with a creature that has an advantage over you. Slowly you’re roped in, smothered, and are in dire need of a rescue. Maybe you felt that dread, too, somewhere deep inside of you? If you’re feeling brave, keep those snorkels on and check out our article on thalassophobia: the fear of the sea.

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