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Weirdlife Episode 11 Treasure Squids Portrait Cover

The Weirdlife Short Story & Audiobook Series: Episode 11 - Treasure Squids

Hickory takes us under the sea where unique squids are obsessed with sunken treasure. But they aren’t the only creature fancying a chest filled with gold!

Read myself

Treasure Squids

*Glub glub, bubble-bubble-bubble*

I’m two-hundred metres deep in the Coral Sea, scuba diving with a very special marine animal. Travelling in groups of four, these brightly speckled creatures the size of a poodle glide through the waters living a carefree life. Here, we see two of them playing catch using a sea urchin instead of a ball. Afternoons are spent playing hide-and-seek in a forest of kelp. In the evening, they make music together with rocks and empty clam shells. But their fun-loving days disappear once their large eyes catch the glitter of gold.

When they find a sunken ship containing riches, they’ll spend the rest of their lives obsessively guarding the piles of coins and jewels. The name of these fascinating animals? The treasure squid.

Hickory is sitting on the ocean floor, wearing a scuba suit. He is surrounded by four treasure squids. The treasure squids have six tentacles and are covered in orange spots.

And my name is Hickory Slick. Welcome to Hickory Slick’s Weirdlife… with Hickory Slick.

I’m hiding behind this tuft of coral to observe the treasure squids in action. This squid quartet has recently discovered a Spanish galleon that sank off the coast of Australia almost three hundred years ago. As you can see, there are two squids patrolling the outside of the ship. One of them clearly prefers pearl necklaces. The other one is sporting several rings with glittering jewels on its many arms. Through a hole in the ship’s hull, I can see two more squids. One is wearing a gold crown; the other, a diamond tiara. They’re floating near a treasure chest overflowing with gold doubloons and shiny gems.

The treasure squids are playing in a wrecked ship. Two of the treasure squids are inside the ship, playing with a chest of gold. One treasure squid is outside the ship, playing with a pearl necklace.

It's hard work guarding all this treasure day and night. You can tell from the bags under their eyes that they don’t get a lot of sleep. Let’s see what happens if I try to step just a little closer to the sunken ship. Oh my! All four of them have darted towards me and are waving their arms in front of my face, as if to say, “Shoo!”. I wonder what would happen if I tried to get a little closer.


Oh dear! This isn’t just ordinary black squid ink they’re squirting at me — it’s plaid! And it has stained my brand-new wetsuit! I’m afraid I’ll have to change it because this looks ridiculous.

The treasure squids are squirting red and orange plaid ink at J

Ahoy. I’m in a new wetsuit and back at the shipwreck. I see the treasure squids have been busy in my absence. They’re making a sort of security fence around the perimeter by stretching across a number of very long electric eels. Why are they taking these extra measures? Because they’ve spotted their greatest enemy in nearby waters. Yes, none other than the dreaded pirate octopus.

Through my ocean binoculars, I can see a trio of them now. The octopuses cruise the seas on the backs of large sea turtles, while wearing eyepatches made of seaweed. The octopuses are very bad at finding shipwrecks on their own. But they’re quite good at finding treasure squids. Their ears pick up the tell-tale *clink-clink* of squids counting their gold. Mind you, treasure squids can’t count very high. In fact, they can only count to one. So they count to one, then start all over again.

Three purple eye-patched octopuses ride on sea turtles.

Now this trio of pirate octopuses have spotted the treasure squids by the sunken ship. Jumping off the turtle, they — oh my! — they’ve stolen my ocean binoculars to get a closer look at the shipwreck. Now they appear to be gesturing to a large white manta ray that is slowly flapping nearby. Ah, I see! They’re making the manta ray keep perfectly still against an underwater cliff. With their octopus ink, the pirate octopuses are using the manta ray as a whiteboard! They’re drawing the ship, with arrows pointing to possible entry points. It looks like quite a daring heist they’re planning!

There is a map of the ship wreck on the manta ray's white tummy.

The octopuses are now swimming towards the ocean floor – they appear to be looking for something. Well, this is odd! They’re poking at a squiggly hagfish that has burrowed in the mud. Hagfish excrete a sticky slime when they’re bothered and, for some reason, the pirate octopuses want to coat themselves in the slime. 

Oh, I see. Yes, very clever. The slime will act as insulation, protecting the octopuses from any electrical charge from the eels!

The octopus is covered in bright green slime.

And there they go! They’ve crossed the eel fence without a problem. Now they’re carefully approaching the two treasure squid guards outside the ship. They know that the squid guards get bored and sleepy, particularly at this time of day. How will they use that knowledge to their advantage?

*Twang… Twang… Twang…*

The octopuses have brought the small twang fish with them – a fish notable for nothing other than the fact that it makes a soothing twanging sound.

*Twang… Twang… Twang…*

And it appears to be working. The exhausted squid guards are dozing off!

The treasure squids are asleep on the ocean floor. One is wearing a pearl necklace, the other has rings on each tentacle.

Now the octopuses are sneaking into the hull of the ship. And what’s this? They’ve put a pouch on the floor of the ship several metres away from the treasure chest and are now hiding in the shadows. The pouch is catching the attention of the two treasure squids because something in the pouch is… glowing. Could it be more gold? Unable to resist, the squids approach the pouch – but, no! The pouch merely contains some goldfish! A clever ruse by the octopuses and the squids have realised it too late. The pirate octopuses have reached the unguarded treasure chest. They grab armfuls of gold and jewellery. However, the squids previously put an alarm system in place – by placing several howler crabs inside the chest – and now the ‘alarm’ is making a piercing noise! The four treasure squids know their treasure is being stolen! The chase is on!

The octopuses are next to the treasure chest holding the gold. The treasure squids are looking at the purple pouch which contains a goldfish.

The pirate octopuses are racing through the water, trying not to drop the gold they’re holding in many of their arms as they flee from the ship. The treasure squids are gaining on them! But hang on — what’s this? The octopuses dart just ahead of an enormous blue whale slowly swimming by. The treasure squids are forced to wait on the other side of the whale until it passes. The squids swim back and forth, anxious for the whale to move. 

The octopuses are swimming above a large blue whale. The treasure squids are on the other side of the whale. Hickory is holding on to the whale's tail.

Finally, the whale swims on again. However, the pirate octopuses are nowhere in sight. They’ve escaped! The treasure squids swim sadly back to their shipwreck. 

And now that the pirate octopuses have an impressive collection of gold, you may ask: “What will they do with it all?” They won’t eat it, of course. And they won’t buy things with it, because there’s nothing to buy in the ocean. The truth is, they won’t do anything with the gold. They are pirate octopuses and that’s just what they do — steal treasure from treasure squids. Such are the wonders of the natural world.

The three octopuses are playing in a pile of gold and treasure. One octopus is playing with a pearl necklace.

This has been Hickory Slick. Tune in next time for Hickory Slick’s Weirdlife… with me, Hickory Slick.

The End

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