When Pall Sigurdsson and his friends headed out on a diving expedition in the waters off Indonesia last December, they had no idea they’d wind up playing “realtor” to a little sea creature in desperate need of a new home.
While exploring near the ocean floor, Sigurdsson happened upon this — a tiny coconut octopus who’d taken up refuge inside a clear plastic cup.
Seeing garbage littering the undersea landscape was sad enough on its own, but Sigurdsson realized that this particular piece of trash was putting lives directly at risk.
Not only was it failing to adequately conceal the octopus, any predators looking for an easy meal would likely end up ingesting the cup as well.
So, Sigurdsson and the group got to work. They spent the remainder of their dive scouring the seabed for a more fitting home — gently offering the octopus different clamshells until he found one to his liking.
Here’s that sweet process on video:
Time was of the essence during this little house-hunting mission, as the group’s air supply was soon dwindling, but thankfully the betentacled animal eventually made his choice.
“Coconut octopus are famous for being very picky about which shells they keep,” Sigurdsson wrote online. “So we had to try with many different shells before it found one to be acceptable.”
The octopus is now safe — but sadly, the issue of pollution in his habitat isn’t faced by him alone.
“We tend to focus on plastic pollution because of the part of it that floats and it is easy to see, and comprehend how bad it is,” Sigurdsson told The Dodo. “I spend a lot of time diving ocean floors around the world, and the amount of trash on the bottom is overwhelming also.”
Every year, roughly 4.8 to 12.7 metric tons of plastic enter Earth’s oceans every year, putting countless animals’ lives in peril. That massive scale can too easily seem incomprehensible, though with any luck, the story of this little creature’s housing experience will truly drive this problem home.