The octopus that takes photos of her aquarium visitors

An octopus named Rambo has been given a waterproof camera and is taking photographs of visitors to her tank at Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium in New Zealand.

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Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET

Octopuses are pretty smart. If you've ever stopped by an octopus habitat at an aquarium, you'll often see objects such as jars or balls at the bottom of their tanks -- partially to keep the cephalopods from getting bored and attempting a jailbreak.

One octopus has been given a new toy that turns her into the world's first professional octophotographer: a waterproof Sony Cyber-shot DSC TX30. The octopus, named Rambo, has been trained to use the camera to take photos of visitors who stop by to see her at Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium in Auckland, New Zealand.

"When we first tried to get her to take a photo, it only took three attempts for her to understand the process. That's faster than a dog," Rambo's trainer, Mark Vette, told Cult of Mac. "Actually, it's faster than a human in some instances."

The camera is placed in a special casing in Rambo's tank, with a red plunger over the camera's shutter button. When Rambo wants to take a photo, she makes her way over to the casing, and pushes the plunger with her tentacle. Visitors can line up against a backdrop placed opposite the camera.

What makes Rambo a professional photographer is that she -- or at least the aquarium -- gets paid for the photos, at NZ$2 a shot.

A rotation of toys is necessary to keep octopuses stimulated -- it's only a matter of time before Rambo grows bored with her camera and seeks something new to play with. Perhaps she'd be interested in an underwater video camera to document her ennui?

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