Friday Cephalopod: And I would hug him and squeeze him and call him George

A certain deep, primal part of my brain went “Squeeee!” at this video of a nautilus being fed by hand. I want one. I want a cephalopod to be my friend. But sorry, people, taking an exotic animal out of the ocean and confining it to an aquarium is not exactly the friendliest thing to do…and a lot of cephalopods are finicky and delicate.

Still, you have to love that face.



  1. David Marjanović says

    They move up several hundred meters every evening and down several hundred meters every morning. Bit hard to do that in an aquarium.

    they’re also endangered

    Relatedly, there are several species, not just one.

  2. =8)-DX says

    @AJ Milne #2 I had a tingling feeling that would be the case, darn. Still, it’s closer than a duck/rabbit. Isn’t it?

  3. Artor says

    That’s gorgeous, but it has a …disturbing…number of tentacles. How many does a nautilus have anyway?

  4. trollofreason says

    When I saw the video, my immediate reaction was, “Are nautilus smart like octopi?” I mean, it’s a fair guess by the background that particular nautilus is kept in a research environment, but I, too, had the base reaction of, “I want it!” Which got me thinking about whether or not it would be possible to have something akin to a mutual emotional relationship with one. That is, I asked myself, “Is this smart enough to even be a pet? Is the potential even there?” I mean, octopi could be a pet. There is lots of anecdotal and recorded evidence to suggest that octopi can develop personalities, remember people, and even show preferences between different humans that they interact with. And, despite being largely solitary animals, can tell the difference between a predator, food, and a guy who wants to touch them and might taste interesting but shouldn’t be eaten. So there’s POTENTIAL there; just a shame that octopi don’t live very long, and are extremely expensive to keep and feed. But what about nautilus?

    Fortunately, when the video was over, YT submitted this to me:

    Pretty much sorted me out.

  5. Lofty says


    Relatedly, there are several species, not just one.

    That must be the Naughtynaughtynaughtilus then.

  6. David Marjanović says

    Still, it’s closer than a duck/rabbit. Isn’t it?

    …Actually, no. Ducks and rabbits are bilaterally symmetric and triploblastic, like cephalopods and unlike sea jellies.

    How many does a nautilus have anyway?


  7. vaiyt says

    The title is in Portuguese, and the page this video came from is from Brazil, but the aquarium itself is probably Japanese judging by the writing on the glass.

  8. Ross Ashes says

    This is quite an amazing creature that I did not know of previously, until being brought to this article. I just wish it had a little more space in the tank, as upon doing research on the Nautilus, it can produce quite a powerful jet as propulsion. I am not a fan of holding any living creatures captive, unless for USEFUL scientific research. My question is, will studying a nautilus benefit humans in any way? Wouldn’t researching them in their natural habitat not only be better for the Nautilus, but provide more accurate results on the activities and way of life of a Nautilus?

    And to give you, trollofreason, my opinion, based on brief research I did – Octopi are directly related to the Nautilus, in fact, the octopus evolved from the Nautilus, by simply loosing the restriction of a shell, and gaining lengthened tentacles. This could suggest similar intelligence and ‘personality’. However, nautiluses have very poor eyesight as their eyes contain no lenses. Instead, there is only a tiny hole to allow light into the eye. This creates more of a blur than an actual image, due to them not being able to focus what they are looking at. This could mean they would have trouble recognizing faces they have seen before, which the octopus is able to do.

  9. trollofreason says

    Re: Ross Ashes, I can see your frustration with the fact that it is a limited environment for this animal, and you bring up a good point that studying it in it’s natural environment could aid research more, but below I would encourage you to take a look at this video, which shows that a more enclosed and controlled environment is actually required. In terms of being useful, humans are curious creatures and enjoy knowing about the thought and behavioral patterns of all animals whether said research is of use to us or not does not matter, its more about just understanding the world and animals around us.

    And thank you for your insight into the topic of training octopi and Nautilus, as you will find out from the video which deals with this as well and which actually supports what you have said about its heritage, and specifically its eye, it is actually possible to train a Nautilus to react to certain this, in a way such as Pavlov’s dog.

    The video:

  10. johnpike says

    Had a good laugh at this – ‘And I would hug him and squeeze him and call him George’ – good to see a post with some good humor. I agree – it would be interesting to have it as a pet if it can react as your video points out, and Ross Ashes, I can see your stance, definitely a point worth bringing up, although as long as it remains unharmed and is happy, I am happy :)