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Aquarium of the Bay
April 5, 2017
See the Giant Pacific Octopus at Aquarium of the Bay

8 Fun Octopus Facts to Learn at the Aquarium of the Bay

Giant Pacific octopuses are amazing animals, and a visitor favorite at Aquarium of the Bay. It’s easy to see why, especially when you consider their amazing skills and abilities that could make anyone jealous.

Read on to learn eight fascinating facts (that’s one for each arm) about the giant Pacific octopus that will leave you eager for more.

Flexibility

No stretching needed here. Giant Pacific octopuses are naturally very flexible. With no skeleton to get in the way, a giant Pacific octopus can move its body in any number of ways and can squeeze into incredibly small spaces.

Camouflage

Have you ever had a moment where you wanted to disappear? If you’re an octopus, you can be as good as gone in a matter of seconds. Giant Pacific octopuses have amazing camouflage skills that help them blend in with any environment. They can change the color of their skin within a fraction of a second. Not only that, these cunning creatures can manipulate their muscles to change the texture of their skin as well. 

Super strength

No more relying on someone else to help you open that jar of pickles. If you’re a giant Pacific octopus, you’ve got this covered, as they exhibit great feats of strength. Weighing in at an average of 50 pounds, the giant Pacific octopus can move more than 700 pounds when using all eight arms. That’s 14 times its own weight!

Intelligence

Giant Pacific octopuses are considered the most intelligent of all invertebrates. Finding their way through mazes, problem solving, and unscrewing jar lids are just some of an octopus’s many talents.

They’ve got a lot of heart

There’s no lack of love for an octopus. They have three hearts! Two hearts work to move blood beyond their gills, while the third heart keeps circulation flowing for the organs.

Natural self-defense

Octopi come readily equipped with cephalopod ink, a dark liquid ideal for evading predators. When threatened, an octopus will shoot out a smokescreen that can take the shape of… an octopus! This provides a great diversion that allows the real octopus to escape.

They can walk on land

Okay, so we can do this, too, but don’t act like you’re not impressed! While the phenomenon is not commonly observed, octopuses have been known to climb out of the water and pull themselves across rocks to reach tidal pools, using their muscular arms and suckers to pull themselves across the terrain.

They feast on crab

Not unlike many of us, a favorite food of the giant Pacific octopus is the Dungeness crab. With their ability to squeeze into small spaces, many octopuses tend to find themselves in crab nets, surrounded by their favorite tasty food. This explains why crab fishermen will often pull up their traps to find an octopus inside that has eaten all of their catch. In 2005, Aquarium of the Bay started a program asking fishermen to help these octopuses that unintentionally find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. Aquarium of the Bay takes these bycatch animals, offering the octopi a safe new home with plenty of delicious (and sustainable) crab.

Learn even more about this eight-armed wonder by visiting the Cephalopod Gallery at Aquarium of the Bay, conveniently located at the entrance of PIER 39. You can say hello to the newest giant Pacific octopus, which, despite its name, is actually still quite small. This juvenile octopus weighs in at just over five pounds, giving him plenty of room to grow. Access to the Cephalopod Gallery is included with your paid general admission ticket, which can be purchased on-site or online. 

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