On Tuesday, university lecturer Zara Brodie, 34, was taking her dog Gunner out for a quick walk along the Bo’ness harbour, when she saw a “flash of orange” out of the corner of her eye.
The lecturer, who is originally from Winchburgh, wandered over to the colourful object and realised it was an octopus.
She said: "I'd never seen one before in the flesh, so I was really surprised to see it. It was beautiful.”
After taking a few snaps of the creature, Ms Brodie became worried about the octopus being on dry land. She carried out a Google search, which revealed that octopuses can only survive outside the water for around 30 minutes.
The lecturer was in the middle of her working day and had told her colleagues she would be right back, but she decided she couldn’t leave the animal to die.
The tide was out and wasn’t due to come back in until 11pm, so she moved the animal, using a stick, to under a nearby pipe, where water was falling onto the shore.
Springing into action, she “legged it” back to her car to drive to Tesco, where she purchased a bucket to transport the octopus into.
Ms Brodie and Gunner rushed back to the harbour and managed to coax the octopus into the container.
They then drove around nearby coastal towns, desperately trying to find a body of water deep enough for her new eight-legged friend.
After exploring several unsuitable spots, she spotted a route that would take her just under the Forth Road Bridge – where she released the octopus.
From start to finish, Ms Brodie and Gunner spent four hours helping the creature.
“I know that they are highly intelligent and that they can feel pain, so it wouldn’t have sat right with me if I had just left it”, she said.
"It was such a majestic thing. I’ve never seen anything like it”
She has urged locals to keep an eye out for octopuses on the shore, and asked them to “do what you can to help them get back to safety”