When You Find a Rare Animal, Please Don’t Eat It

If you encounter a rare animal in the wild — really, any wildife — it goes without saying, do not do what Labros Hydras recently did.

While snorkeling during an annual family vacation to Greece, Hydras, a mechanical engineer born in Greece who lives in Washington, D.C., found a rare “hexapus,” an octopus with only six legs on the Papa Nero beach on the Pelion peninsula.

As the Telegraph reports, he proceeded to follow “local tradition” and smash the animal on a rock to kill it, before taking it to a local tavern to have it grilled for a meal.

But the chef refused to do so and told Labros he should have let the hexapus live. Labros then cooked the animal and ate it.

Only afterwards did Labros consult a friend who is a biologist and find out that he had caught, killed and consumed an incredibly rare animal. Only one other hexapus has ever been discovered, off the coast of north Wales in 2008. Dubbed “Henry,” this hexapus was first taken to the Blackpool Sea Life Center in England, then released back into the wild.

Saying that one reason he went ahead and ate the hexapus was that he could not find out anything about it at the time as “there was no internet where we were.” Labros admits to now feeling “really bad,” as he tells SWNS.com:

“When we caught it, there was nothing to suggest it was any different or had been damaged.

“I thought it had just been born with six tentacles.

“We go to Greece every year and when we catch an octopus we do the same thing so we just did not think about it.”

Labros says that he now wants to atone for his very big error and “pursue the scientific angle to make scientists aware of the existence of the wild hexapus.” Doing so, he says, “is the least that I can do given my ignorance and guilt that I feel for killing such a rare animal.” He has taken what remains of the hectopus to specialists at the Hellenic Center for Marine Research in Greece.

Matt Bentley, a professor of Marine Biology at Newcastle University, underscores how rare the hexapus is. It is not a new species but rather the result of an abnormality in its development, either before it was born or early on. Bentley also suggests that the hexapus might originally have had eight legs, but lost them in injury.

However the hexapus came to be, it is more than regretful that it was found by Labros only to be so quickly, and cruelly, killed. If he had taken the concerns of the chef to heart, scientists could at least have been able to study the hexapus to learn about such a fascinating creature.

Better yet, if you encounter wildlife, better — best — not to get too close and not to make contact. In the words of Care2 blogger Judy Molland, don’t be ignorant and inflict harm (and, in the case Labros, death) on an innocent animal.


Photo via jenly/Flickr


Jim Ven
Jim Ven1 years ago

thanks for the article.

Mark D.
Mark D.4 years ago

Commercial fishermen are committing acts of terrorism by raping the oceans. They are doing far worse than this. They are also from the subclass of human that doesn't deserve to exist.

Jane R.
Jane R4 years ago

How very sad. It's a shame that the chef didn't tell him that it was a rare animal.

Carrie-Anne Brown

sad news but thanks for sharing

Silvia Steinhilber

I'm sure this man was taught as a child to kill innocent creatures by smashing them against a rock. I am grateful that I was not raised that way and that this act sickens me. Wish it would sicken everybody.

Annelies Haussler
liessi Haussler4 years ago

We weren't all born activists. Just as children grow up generally unaware that consumerism has consequences, so too, did this man have an opportunity to gain awareness that simply wasn't there before. He's not an idiot any more than you were an idiot the first time your parents fed you factory-farmed animals. If anything, he's more aware now and deserves recognition for having realized --and publicly acknowledged-- the error of his ways. Perhaps now that he feels bad about killing this rare creature, he will also start to realize that they're all special in their way and above all, question the practice of inhumanely killing a living creature. We all deserve a chance to "evolve."

Nichola Mac Donough
Nichola Mac D4 years ago


elizabeth longley

I've seen the killing of octopus in Greece (on the island of Kos) and it sickened me. The fishing boats had returned to port with their catches, and as soon as the octopus were brought from the boats, men started bashing them against the harbour wall. I know that other cultures have different ways to us, but that was horrific. It took my husband quite a while to calm me down, I was so upset - and so was he. To kill an animal - any animal - in that barbaric way, is, to me, uncivilised.

Debbie Miller
Debbie Miller4 years ago

sad, sad, sad!!!

Ruhee B.
Ruhee B4 years ago

Lisa D - this man's ignorance is NO excuse in my book! His actions are just a sad reflection of the human species as a whole - ie kill, kill, kill - no living thing is safe from the destructive force of humans.