What's this slimy creature in my drain?


08 February 2006

Victoria Springitt lifted up the slimy mess blocking her garden drain and screamed after realising it was not just mud and leaves clogging it up. The 37-year-old Staffordshire University student watched in horror as her nine-year-old son Isaac then pulled out what they believe was a dead, black octopus, using fire tongs.

"I saw water flowing from the garden drain, and thought it might be a banana skin covered in leaves," explained the mother-of-two, of Oxford Road, Basford.

"I prodded it with a stick and then I got my nine-year-old son to sort it out."

Neither friends nor neighbours can explain how the muddy salt-water marine mollusc ended up in the garden, although some speculate a passing seagull may have dropped it.

Vicky added: "Isaac wasn't fazed by it at all and has gone back to St Wulstan's Primary School telling everyone he wants to bring it in."

Her sister Becky Springitt, aged 34, who was brave enough to handle the specimen, said: "It definitely looks like an octopus and feels soft and porous - not like a rubber toy.

"If this is someone's exotic pet that they've flushed down the toilet, then I think it is a real shame."

Mature student Vicky, who moved back to North Staffordshire 16 months ago, said: "I just want to know where it came from. I've travelled to many places around the world, but I've never seen anything like this."

Pictures of the creature have puzzled experts at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth. Information officer Douglas Herdson said: "We've had people looking at the photos and there are certain things that look right about the body and certain things that don't.

"It is very difficult to say for certain whether this is an octopus."

He said it was feasible that an octopus owner had flushed a dead specimen down the drain - they cannot last more than 20 minutes in freshwater.

He added: "Some people don't realise it is illegal to release exotic creatures into the wild in Britain."

And I thought cleaning the bathtub drain was the ultimate in gross!!

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