A professional mermaid has given an insight into what it is like to work with an octopus in a viral video viewed over 1.2 million times on TikTok. Madison Cashio, who works at the Blue Zoo Baton Rouge, Louisiana, shared the video of herself cleaning the tank while the octopus, Octavia, interacts with her.
The 33-second video shows Cashio scrubbing the artificial coral in the aquarium with the captions: "Working with an octopus is like... hey ... hey ... play with me." Octavia is seen reaching out to Cashio with her tentacles and holding her shoulder before trying to "hold hands."
Cashio, who describes herself as a saltwater aquarist, scuba diver and professional mermaid, says Octavia came to the aquarium with two missing tentacles. She said that at first, the octopus was nervous of her, but they built trust after about a month.
Octopuses are regarded as highly intelligent animals. In April, scientists announced research suggesting they experience dreams. Researchers discovered this behavior was linked to differing sleep states after an octopus called Heidi was observed changing color while she slept.
They found a "quiet sleep" state was associated with pale skin and closed pupils, while the "active sleep" state resulted in changes in skin color and texture, as well as rapid eye movement. In humans this active state is known as REM (rapid eye movement) and is associated with the phase of sleep where we dream.