We've seen an octopus steal a human diver's camera before. It was a great a video that inspired interesting comments on YouTube, such as this conversation:
Now humans are getting more careful when they dive in dangerous neighborhoods. Recently, Joe Kistel survived an attempted mugging while he was off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida. Kistel fought back and held on to his camera.
But the octopus was determined to get something out of his trouble. So he started stripping the camera for parts, which, I suppose, he could later sell at a chop shop. Mary Bates writes for National Geographic:
As Kistel filmed, the octopus reached for the camera, and then he noticed something in one of its arms: a gasket from the camera’s housing.
“I was completely surprised when he started to dismantle the camera,” Kistel said.
Kistel ended up playing tug-of-war with the octopus to retrieve the valuable camera part. “I think he was just curious,” Kistel said. “He saw something different and thought he would take it.”
What was the octopus trying to do? Was it demonstrating intelligence? Bates asked James Wood, a marine biologist, about how to understand the intelligence of an octopus. Woods wrote:
Intelligence is hard to define, even in humans. If an octopus made an IQ test for a human, it might have questions like, “How many different colors can your severed arm produce in a second?” That’s an intelligence-based skill that’s relevant to its survival that we don’t do.
Octopuses certainly learn very quickly in captivity. They pick up tests like mazes much like a rat or mouse does. They also learn who feeds them and when pretty rapidly. I worked with one octopus that would squirt you in the face with a perfectly aimed, direct jet of water if you were at all late in feeding it. You had to feed that one first or you’d get hosed.
-via Ian Chant