Friday Cephalopod: Freeday Octopus!

A few months ago, my granddaughter Iliana got to visit the Seattle Aquarium, along with many other Pacific Northwest landmarks. Here she is communing with the Giant Pacific Octopus that was there.

Good news! The aquarium has set the octopus free! Transporting him in a garbage can seems a little undignified, but the important thing is that now he can wander in Puget Sound, looking for mates and, we hope, siring many progeny.


  1. birgerjohansson says

    When you get your “do CRISPR at home” Christmas set, I want you to get cracking giving them proper, long life spans. Since some live in the cold deeps, they should in theory have metabolisms as sluggish as the Greenland shark, and some of those critters have been living since Shakespeare.

  2. gddiver says

    Little late to the party with this since we were out playing in the woods today.

    I volunteered at the Seattle Aquarium for 20 years, primarily as a diver, first in the dome and later in Wall on Washington Water (WOWW). When I first started though, before I got my first dive slot, I fed the inverts in the smaller tanks. This was done in the morning, starting a couple of hours before the aquarium opened to the public.

    There was one rather large giant pacific octopus (GPO) who was terribly bored and was constantly trying to escape from the tank. The procedure for feeding him was to place a herring, or other food, on a 6 foot long bamboo stick, slide it under the lid and quickly place it on the bottom near the other end of the tank. By the way, it was necessary to stand on a 5 foot step ladder while undertaking this project because the top of the tank was about 7 or 8 feet off the ground. Now octopuses, as you’ve all heard, are rather cleaver and, as stated, this one was bored. One morning I watched as the octopus reached out for the herring with two tentacles without moving from the center of the tank. Being the careless sort and easily distracted I watched it grab the herring but I forgot to watch the other 6 legs. Suddenly, I felt the unmistakeable touch of one of these tentacles, immediately dropped the bamboo stick and grabbed the tentacle to pull it off my arm. Now remember, there are 7 more tentacles unaccounted for and sure enough a couple of them were soon attached to my previously free arm. Things went south rather quickly at this point as all 8 tentacles were attached to various parts of my anatomy, and the head began coming out of the tank. By this time the lid was on the floor and my friendly octopus was nearly free. Desperately, I put both hands on it’s head and pushed, at which point, giving up, its squirted a siphon full of water in my face and dropped back into the tank. I lost my balance and fell backwards, ladder and all. As I hit the floor I heard a mixture of gasps and giggles. It seems that I was running late that morning and the aquarium had been opened while I was battling the monster from the deep.

    The bright spot is, this all happened in 2000 long before U Tube and the ubiquity of cell phones.