Can you devise a puzzle to challenge an octopus?

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An octopus at a public aquarium in Devon is so intelligent that she has learned how to solve even complex challenges set by her keepers - so they are now looking for new ideas.

Ursula lives at Living Coasts zoo and aquarium in Torquay. She can open jars, arrange blocks in her aquarium, unfasten catches and flip lids, and it took her just ten seconds to remove the waterproof casing from a camera — faster even than the aquarium staff!

Living Coasts’ operations manager Clare Rugg is now asking members of the public to come up with new challenges for the two-year-old octopus.

Safety needs to be considered in the design, of course. The puzzle will need to be non-toxic and contain no metal, sharp or pointed parts.

"Bigger, better, more complicated, more complex plastic tube networks, perhaps where she has to open the ends to get in. Or segments she has to pass through to go further into the tube," said Living Coasts keeper Sarah Tingvoll. "Also, balls and floats, perhaps where food can be hidden inside.”

The person who comes up with the biggest challenge will get to meet Ursula and her keeper.

Living Coasts is situated on Torquay Harbourside on Beacon Quay, Torquay. Tel. 01803 202470.

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