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  • Writer's picturePaul


When the storm surge of Hurricane Sandy struck the coast of New York in late October 2012, it flooded streets, submerged subways, and caused billions of dollars in damages. It also gave a Mr John Whittier Norris of Montauk, NY, a somewhat unexpected addition to his garden pond.

The tiny hamlet of Montauk lies on the northernmost tip of Long Island. It escaped the worst of New York’s flooding, but was still badly effected by the storm, with waves crashing far up the islands’ beaches, and a resulting storm surge flooding dozens of coastal homes and gardens.

After the storm abated, Mr Norris walked down to his garden to survey the damage—and found a 4ft common octopus happily submerged in the now decidedly un-freshwater pond he had recently had built in his back garden. (His freshwater fish, we can presume, were less happy.)

Animal control were called out, and, according to the East Hampton Star, two wildlife wardens struggled for three hours to try to extricate the octopus—whom Norris went on to nickname “Otto”—from the pond, alas, without success.

One over the eight: an octopus, possibly in a Long Island pond (Pixabay)

Eventually it was decided that, with Norris’ agreement, Otto should be left where he was to figure out his own surroundings. He would, the wardens reasoned, eventually grow tired of his somewhat claustrophobic new home, and as soon as he began showing signs of agitation—thrashing his tentacles in the water, clambering out of the pool himself—they were to be called out once more to give him a helping hand (or eight) to make the 200 yard journey back to the sea.

The warden’s plan proved successful, and Otto was eventually returned to the sea four days later.

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