Tired of asking other humans to take photos of you? At a New Zealand aquarium, you can get an octopus to do it instead.
Rambo, a female octopus at Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium in Auckland, has been trained to use a $300 Sony Cyber-shot TX30 waterproof digital camera to take photos of tourists. The aquarium charges just $2 in local currency (about $1.88 Canadian) for the service. The money goes toward aquarium operations and programs.
"She loves the game now," said Rambo's trainer, Mark Vette, in a video posted online by Sony New Zealand.
The world's first snaps taken by our resident Octopus! We hope our lucky guests enjoyed it as much as we did -... http://t.co/PE2Bb2tMN9— @Kelly_Tarltons
The company sponsored Rambo's photography training to help raise awareness about how intelligent octopuses are and show how durable the TX30 camera is, reported the website DIY photography.
The project certainly showcases Rambo's intelligence — she was trained in just three tries to respond to a buzzer as a cue to take a photo, Vette said in an interview with the TVNZ show Seven Sharp.
Vette, lead behaviourist for Animals on Q, an Auckland-based firm that has trained a variety of animals, added that if a dog learned the same trick in 10 tries, "I'd be very happy."
As for the durability of the camera, it might be advertised as shock-proof, but it was definitely not octopus-proof.
"On day two, she pulled the camera off, ripped it up, smashed it to bits and spat it out," Vette recalled in the Sony video. "We realized how powerful she was."
Eventually, the camera was secured in a specially-designed octopus-proof housing that appears to be made of plexiglass.
Rambo takes photos by reaching her tentacle down a tube to push a red button that turns on the camera and takes a photo.
Dozens of her photos have been posted on the Sony New Zealand Facebook page.