Our Octopus is Awesome – There’s no Bones About it

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The AquaSquad may be the newest addition to the Greater Cleveland Aquarium staff, but we aren’t the only
new kids on the block.

Earlier this month the aquarium welcomed a new underwater resident, the Giant Pacific

Octopus, scientifically known as Enteroctopus Dofleini.

Let’s start off with a joke.

How do you make an octopus laugh?

Ten-tickles!

Get it…Tentacles

However, contrary to popular belief, octopus’s appendages are actually called arms, not tentacles.

So why is our octopus so special?

The Giant Pacific Octopus grows larger and lives longer than any other species of octopi in the world. Weighing in at up to 110 pounds and spanning 10 to
16 feet, this octopus is no joke.

Here at the GCA, our octopus is not quite full grown, but he is still a force to be reckoned with. Octopi are extremely intelligent creatures and are known
to be expert escape artists. Their brain is about the size of a dog or a cat’s, making it larger than any other invertebrate’s. Our aquarists indulge our
scholarly friend by placing puzzles in his tank for him to solve and challenge him intellectually. He is one smart cookie.


Octopus 101:


Habitat

The Giant Pacific Octopus inhabits the waters of the Pacific Ocean, stretching from Southern California to Alaska and as far east as Japan.

Predators and Prey

Because these octopi are sensitive to light, they prefer to hunt at night.

  • Prey: shrimp, clams, lobsters and fish
  • Predators: harbor seal, sperm whale and sea otter

The Giant Pacific Octopus has an organ called the salivary papilla, which is covered with small teeth, that helps it break through its prey’s shells.
Octopi also have barbed tongues to scrape food our of their prey’s shells.

Anatomy

In their natural habitat, Giant Pacific Octopi are reddish brown in color. Here at the GCA, our octopus is a beautiful shade of blue-violet. He has changed
colors to adapt to his new home. The tank that our eight-armed friend lives in illuminates a cool, bluish-purple light that matches his new hew. Octopi
prefer the dark and are sensitive to light, so if you take a picture of our friend, absolutely no flash photography is permitted.

Giant Pacific octopi only mate one time during their life. The male dies soon after reproducing, while the female lives to foster her eggs for seven months
and then dies shortly after. Female octopi can lay 20,000 to 100,000 eggs at a time.

Because octopi do not have bones, they can squeeze and contort their bodies into small spaces. Often, when females give birth, they create a den in a small
crevice to protect their eggs before they hatch.

*Now that you have the 4-1-1 on our bulbous bud, come in and say hello. Admission is $5 off through May. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram to see our latest pictures and updates on upcoming events.