Octopus – Did You Know…

… That an octopus can have nearly 2’000 suckers on its arms and that octopi actually have venom? They’ve also been seen using tools.

Here are some fun facts about octopi:

  • They eat their arms if they get stressed out or bored (applies to captive octopi if they do not live in a stimulating tank)
  • Back to the venom: All octopi are thought to have some venom that comes from bacteria living inside the animals. Most don’t have enough to harm people. The bite of a blue-ringed octopus can paralyze a human adult in minutes.
  • Octopi are intelligent enough to use tools. Just like Chimpanzees, Dolphins and Cows (yep), they are among the special set of intelligent animals that have been observed using tools. Scientists reported they had watched veined octopi picking up discarded coconut shells and using them like mobile homes.
  • They can open childproof pill bottles… Billye, a giant Pacific Octopus, was tested in the Seattle Aquarium. She was able to unlock the top and access her snack in the childproof pill bottle in 5min.
  • They are masters of camouflage and can change color of their entire body in just 3/10 of a second. But they don’t just take on the general pattern of their surroundings. To disappear into the underwater scenery they mimic specific undersea objects, like plants and rocks.
  • They live fast and die young… While some live for a few years, some species drop dead after just 6 months.
  • Their suckers are the strong but sensitive type. A common octopus has about 240 suckers on each limb. A particularly large sucker can hold up to 35lb (about 15kg). The suckers are also extremely sensitive. They can pick up subtle chemical signals and move individually, even folding in half in a pinching gesture.
  • Octopi are playful. Anecdotes from aquariums and biology labs suggest that they are very curious and need stimulation. They might even engage in what humans would call “play”.Β  One scientist told a story of one specimen pushing a plastic bottle over and over again at a stream of water flowing into its tank – almost like it was bouncing a ball underwater.
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