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20th Oct 2023

Octopus found fighting off seagulls on Dublin beach released back into the water

Fiona Frawley

octopus dublin beach

The creature was using its tentacles to defend itself from two attacking seagulls when it was spotted by a passerby.

We all know the plight of losing a deli roll or the best part of a fish and chips portion to a vexatious city seagull, but this octopus on Burrow Beach could have lost much more if Luke Maguire hadn’t spotted the mollusc and intervened.

Luke was out walking his dog when he spotted two seagulls attacking something, which from a distance he thought could be a crab. As he got closer he saw the octopus “defending itself”, assuming it had been washed in and caught with the receding tide. After realising the seagulls had gone, the octopus “seemed to stop wriggling around its tentacles and relaxed” but it didn’t seem able to get back into the water, Luke told Lovin Dublin.


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A post shared by Luke Maguire (@lukemaguire_)

The octopus was spotted on Burrow Beach in Dublin. 

The passerby picked up the octopus and helped it back into the ocean, where it swam “for about 5 seconds before it was hit by another wave and washed up onto another sand bank”. Knowing he couldn’t leave the creature there with the gulls still lingering, Luke picked it up again and waded in deeper to release it, noting that “as soon as it got in the water it completely changed shape and looked like a rocket flying away”.

Thanks to the likes of 2020 documentary My Octopus Teacher, we know a lot more about how clever octopuses are and the innovative methods they use to defend and conceal themselves underwater. According to the Marine Conservation Society, octopuses can use their tentacles to walk along the beach if they are trapped in a low tide or hunting for prey among the rock pools, and most sources say they can survive for about 30 minutes outside of the water (seagulls notwithstanding, as Luke pointed out).

Header image via Instagram / lukemaguire_


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