The ruthless eight-legged predator wrestled on the rocks with the hapless crustacean for several seconds before dragging it back into the sea and to certain death at Yallingup, on the coast of Western Australia.
More then six million viewers have now been enthralled by terrifying footage of the gripping arm-bush since Porsche Indrisie – who filmed the attack – posted it on YouTube last week.
The video shows the unfortunate crab quietly minding its business as it rests casually between rock pools. But it is caught badly unawares when the octopus suddenly surges out of the water like Glenn Close on bath night and envelops it in a ball of writhing tentacles. In the skirmish that follows the crab tries in vain to claw its assailant, but the far bigger octopus drags its victim two or three feet across the rocks and beneath the surface to its underwater lair.
“I don’t know why I chose to film this crab but thought I would try and get closer to it – but something else beat me to it,” wrote Ms Indrisie on YouTube. “We hung around for a while but I understand octopus flip it open and eat it pretty quickly, so I knew it was toast.”
Octopuses breathe through gills like fish – so any excursions on to dry land must be of limited duration. There are about 300 species of octopus, many of which paralyse their prey with saliva before dismembering them with their beaks. Hard-shelled snacks such as crabs are devoured via the softer underside — sometimes a hole is drilled in the prey before the soft inside is extracted and eaten.
The Yallingup predator now looks set to rival the extraordinary fame of the world’s best-known cephalopod, Paul the Octopus. Weymouth-born Paul achieved notoriety as an oracle who correctly predicted the outcome of football matches during the 2010 World Cup in Germany. He made his selections at his tank in Oberhausen by choosing food from a choice of two clear plastic containers, each marked with a flag from one of the two competing countries.
So popular is Ms Indrisie’s video that she has now licensed its use. However, you can view it on YouTube. Do so click here.