Awesome Octopi

While I’m on the subject of our visit to the zoo…  well, in some ways it wasn’t our best visit, that’s probably why it took me almost a week to get motivated to write about it.  A few of us were still recovering from the flu, while others in the family were coming down with it, so the lot of us that day were quite crabby!  But we did see some amazing animal action, including the often inactive octopus – he was moving all around his tank, which prompted many questions from  my kids, my husband, and myself.  I did a bunch of research when I got home, and I learned what I already suspected – octopi are awesome!  Here are some of the coolest facts:

•  The octopus has a short lifespan; varying among species from 6 months to 5 years for the larger species held in captivity.

•  Octopi are invertebrates, meaning they have no hard skeleton, and they are very intelligent creatures – considered the most intelligent of all the invertebrates.  They have been known to manipulate man-made objects, like opening jars or even solving puzzles and mazes.  Check out the following video – an octopus navigates a water maze by getting out of the water and going over the maze!  (The major action starts about 2 minutes into the video.)

•  Because of the fact that octopi don’t have skeletons, they can squeeze their bodies (which is actually that bulbous looking mass most people mistake for a head – and it contains three hearts!) through extremely small openings.

3 thoughts on “Awesome Octopi”

  1. Definitely cool. That first octopus is a cheater! 😀

    As for what you wrote about the “bulbous looking mass most people mistake for a head,” I guess we call it a head because it has the eyes on it. I was just reading the Wikipedia entry on the octopus, and sadly, it seems parenthood isn’t in the cards for them as they die shortly after reproducing, both genders.

  2. Yes derek – that’s a cool fact I left out, there were just too many! The female is genetically programmed to die after caring for her eggs. Scientists have tried taking out the gland that causes the death, but she only lives a few months longer and dies of starvation instead. And I also didn’t know before all this research that the mouth (with a BEAK!) is actually on the underside where the legs meet. And the legs have transmitting neurons in them, so essentially, the tentacles contain almost like mini-brains!
    I could go on and on…

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