The giant Pacific octopus is the largest octopus species in the ocean. It also has a longer lifespan and remarkable intelligence than the other octopus species. Let’s find out some interesting facts about these octopuses below!
1. They are the world’s biggest octopus
The giant Pacific octopus, also called the North Pacific giant octopus, is a mollusk with a large, bulbous head. It has two shell plates inside its head, hiding a beak-like structure used for catching food.
Giant Pacific octopuses can reach the size of up to 30 feet (9 meters) in length, making them one of the largest aquatic animals. Adults usually weigh around 33 pounds (15 kilograms) and have an arm span of 14 feet (4.3 meters). They’re almost as tall as a 6-foot-tall human.
The largest giant Pacific octopus on record weighs up to 300 lb (136 kg) and has an arm span of 32 ft (9.8 m). In spite of its large size, the octopus can shrink its body to fit through any aperture greater than the size of its beak.
Besides the size, this gigantic octopus is also distinguished by its distinctive reddish-pink hue. The animal owns 8 long tentacles, each hash 280 suckers on it. So, the octopus has 2.240 suckers to taste, feel, smell, and grip.
The bigger suckers around the mouth and beak can carry up to 16 kg (35 lbs) of weight. This means that they could lift 7 computer screens, a concrete block, and a 4-year-old child. Even though the octopuses are that strong, their strength is mainly used to break open shells, crabs, and other water creatures.
So far, roughly 300 species of giant Pacific octopus have been identified in the world, from Alaska to Southern California.
2. They are the camouflage masters
As mollusk creatures, giant Pacific octopuses don’t have shells to protect themselves. That’s why they develop their own skills to defend, and that’s camouflage ability. Beneath the skin’s surface, the octopus has specific pigment cells known as chromatophores. The cells enable the octopus to change its color and fit in the surroundings (rocks, corals, plants, etc), even with the most complicated ones.
The species feature one of the most advanced camouflage techniques in the animal kingdom, consisting of complex harmonies of pigment cells, nerves, and muscle fibers.
The great Pacific octopus utilizes its keen vision to almost perfectly mimic the shades and patterns of its surroundings. Then, it changes color by extending or pressing the chromatophores from instant to moment. Experiments have revealed that the octopus is colorblind, making this ability even more remarkable.
When attacked, octopuses can also smear black ink on predators. If confined to a narrow location with limited current flow, the ink is poisonous and can kill octopuses.
The giant octopus lives in the Pacific’s moderate waters. They can be found from southern California and Alaska to Japan’s coast in Asia.
They can survive in intertidal waters, in 300-foot shallow pools, and deep in colder sections of the ocean with high oxygen levels, near sponges and seagrass as well as pilings, and reefs. These benthic creatures are mainly found lying under dens, away from predators.
4. They are the most intelligent invertebrate
One of the most interesting features of this octopus is that they have 9 brains: 1 large brain and 8 smaller ones. The important octopus life decisions, such as whether to eat and where to stay, are made by the main central brain.
The smaller brains are made up of a network of neurons that allow them to regulate their tentacles. This lets them insert their arm in a crevice, taste a clam, and determine whether to get it or not. They can do all of these things without disturbing the primary brain.
These smart creatures can learn to open jars, solve puzzles, utilize tools, imitate other octopuses, overcome mazes in lab testing, and love to interact with visitors. They can differentiate and identify various keepers in captivity based on smell and sight.
This is beyond scientists’ expectations. Because animals with lonely life are unlikely to have intellect as sociable creatures.
5. They have blue blood
Unlike humans, which have red blood, all octopuses have blue blood due to a copper-rich protein in their bloodstream. This protein is called hemocyanin and it helps oxygen transport effectively in cold ocean habitats.
Not only the giant Pacific octopus does have 8 arms and 9 brains, but it also features 3 hearts. Two of them push blood to the gills, whereas the third one circulates blood throughout the body.
The species breathe through the gills in their tentacles. These gills allow them to take in oxygen and then expel it through a tube called a siphon. The octopuses may be pushed back if they inhale in and exhale too forcefully.
6. The giant Pacific red octopuses move pretty quickly
They have evolved quick instincts as a result of the harsh environment of the ocean. They can swim at speeds of 60-75 miles per hour or faster (96-120 kph).
Like all octopuses, the giant Pacific moves in 2 ways. When looking for prey, the octopus moves by using its arms to push the body in the appropriate direction. The suckers on their tentacles provide the octopus with a strong grip when it crawls.
When getting scared, it increases its speed by creating a torpedo-like shape to slash through the water. Water is drawn into its bodily cavity and forced out through a tube under its head. The octopus is propelled forward by the force of the water splashing out, enabling it to move backward across the ocean. This is known as jet propulsion.
If the octopuses are stranded in a low tide, they can use their arms to walk along the beach.
7. They are fearsome hunters
The giant Pacific octopus is nocturnal. At night, they get out of the dens and move across the reef, probing with the tips of their arms into locations where prey may be available. Unlike other species, these octopuses don’t need to identify their prey by looking at them. This is because their wonderful suckers can do this.
Those sneaky hunters eat a variety of seafood. Their diet commonly includes crustaceans like shrimp, lobsters, fish, crabs, and other mollusk species. They also attack and consume other octopuses, sharks, and birds. For some reasons, they even drown seagulls and fight with bald eagles.
Video about octopus giant pacific vs shark:
To hunt the prey, these giant Pacific octopuses use their camouflage ability, jet propulsion, and the firm grip from their 8 arms.
Once the octopuses obtain the prey, they bring it back to their cave to devour it in quiet. When in the den, they employ three distinct methods to break the hard shell of the prey to eat it. The first way is to pull the prey apart and the second method is to use their beak to bite it open.
If the prey is too tough to rip apart or bite open, the octopus will use the third way by “drilling” it. They soften the shell of their prey with saliva secretions. After that, they brush away the softened material and make a small hole with their hard tongue known as radula.
The octopus produces poison through this hole to paralyze the victim and begins to disintegrate the prey’s tissue. The prey can subsequently be dismembered and eaten. After finishing, they throw the shell outside the den, creating a rubbish pile (a.k.a midden).
8. They are lonely and playful at the same time
Most of the time, giant Pacific octopuses live a lonely life. They build comfortable dens within rock fissures and stay there all day. They only leave the dens at night to look for food or a mate if it’s mating season. Between their den and any social gatherings of cephalopods, they definitely choose the den.
They are amusing creatures. Aquarists must provide something to keep giant Pacific octopuses psychologically that live in captivity active. Otherwise, they will wreak havoc. They will open and close tank valves, remove equipment, shoot water at light bulbs, or try full-fledged escapes down drainpipes.
Those cunning creatures even leave their aquarium to catch fish in nearby tanks. And then, they return to their tank and pretend to not know anything.
You can own a giant pacific octopus. The octopus can be an entertaining pet, but it is not a good pet. You need to spend a lot of time and effort to take care of them.
9. Female giant Pacific octopuses are the most sacrificed mothers
Among 300 octopus species, the giant Pacific is the one that lives the longest. They live in the wild for 3 to 5 years. Throughout this time, they reproduce only once.
When reaching the age of 2 years, the female look for a male to breed and lay eggs with for the first and also the last time. When the male and female come across, the male puts a specialized arm (or hectocotylus) into the female’s mantle and deposits a sperm package. The female will save this packet until it is time to fertilize the eggs.
After mating, the male gets worsen. He stops eating and often stays in open water. Males often perish from predators rather than starvation. About the female, she no longer hunts. She lays anywhere from 120,000 to 400,000 eggs and attaches them to a hard place on the ocean bottom. These eggs are protected by a covering chiron.
During this time, the mother is always by her babies’ side. She continually sprays them with fresh water, cleans them, blows them, and scares predators away. She doesn’t even leave them to eat. This’s why the female giant Pacific octopus dies shortly after her eggs hatch. She accomplished her life cycle by giving a new generation.
The eggs hatch in around six months. Young hatchlings have the size of wheat. They start their planktonic stage with a 30- to 90-day period in which they drift freely in the ocean. Because they are on the surface, they are extremely exposed to predators. As a result, only a few of one million or so hatchlings survive to adulthood.
The luckiest ones finally settle on the sea bed and begin to grow swiftly. They will gain 1% of their body weight a day, greatly increasing their chances of survival. Once reach full growth, it just has a few predators, such as sperm whales, Pacific sleeper sharks, sea otters, sea lions, and harbor seals.
Humans are also a threat to them. This octopus species is a significant source of food for humans, as well as bait for Pacific halibut and other species of fish. Every year, around 3.3 million tons of octopuses are fished.
10. They are dangerous
The giant Pacific octopus is born dangerous. They, as well as other octopus species, contain some venom. When an octopus is assaulted by a predator, it releases a black toxin that kills it nearly instantly. As a result, these animals are deadly by instinct and have the potential to harm humans. Fortunately, these huge octopus is known to be timid and friendly to humans. They rarely attack humans or cause harm to us.
11. Conservation Status
These creatures are not classified in the IUCN Red List. This is due to the difficulty of locating and tracking these animals in order to estimate their numbers. While the species is not endangered, its population is likely affected by pollution and global warming. The octopus usually avoids warm water and dead areas. However, some may become stuck between low-oxygen ranges.
12.Octopus – free Jigsaw Puzzle online