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Octopus

Posted in Invertebrates, Sea Creatures

Octopus are soft-bodied mollusks with two eyes and four pairs of arms which are usually covered with suction cups. They have no internal skeleton but they do have a hard, parrot-like beak, which they use to break into and eat their prey. There are over 300 known species of octopus, some reaching up to 33 pounds and over 14 feet long!  Most octopus range from one to three feet long and 6 to 22 pounds fully grown.

 

The color of an octopus depends on its surroundings. Octopus have the amazing ability to alter their color, pattern and even texture, depending on their immediate environment.  It also can change color based on its mood.  It is most often brownish, but also turns white when it’s afraid or red when it’s angry.

 

Octopus are also highly intelligent and unlike most animals, use tools and display individual personality characteristics.

 

 

 

Where-do-they-live

The octopus can be found in the shallow waters of tropical, subtropical, and temperate areas all over the world, although some can be found as far down as three miles deep!   Mostly, they prefer to live in protected areas such as coral reefs and rocky crevices where they can safely hide from predators.

 

 

What-do-they-eat

Octopus who make their home on the bottom of the ocean feed mainly on crabs, clams and other mollusks, while octopus who live in the open ocean eat mainly small fish and prawns.  All octopus are venomous.  When they attack their prey, they usually inject a paralysing saliva before eating it.

 

 

What-are-their-predators

Octopus are eaten by seals, sharks and other large fish.

 

 

What-are-their-defenses

The octopus has incredible defense mechanisms. First, it can blend into its environment, even in open water. Second, when threatened, it can release black ink into the water to distract its enemy while it makes a fast getaway, using its powerful jet propulsion system! Third, if the predator still pursues the octopus and latches on to a limb, it can shed its tentacle which it will later regenerate.

 

 

Did-you-know

the 1,600 cups on an octopus’s arms are not just organs for feeling, but also for smelling?  In other words, octopuses smell with their arms!  Another new discovery is that not all eight tentacles are arms.  Two of them actually act as legs, allowing them to easily ‘walk’ across the ocean floor.

 

 

Danger-scale

 

 

While all octopus are venomous, only one can kill a human.  It is known as one of the most deadly animals in the world.  When stepped on or provoked, the blue-ringed octopus (a tiny octopus about the size of a golf ball) will bite a human and kill it within minutes!

 

 

 

Can-you-believe

An octopus has three hearts, nine brains, and blue blood? Two of the hearts pump blood to the gills, while the third one circulates blood to the rest of the body. The brain works like a computer network, with a central brain and a large ganglion at the base of each arm, controlling movement.

 

My-favorite-thing

about octopus is their ink defense that they use to confuse and distract predators while it makes a fast getaway!

 

What’s your favorite thing about the octopus?

2 Comments

  1. I love your octopus page. The information is amazing! When will you do a page on squid?

    • Hi Thomas,

      Squid are some of my favorite animals. We’ll have a page up soon!

      Cole

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