The giant Pacific octopus, also known as the North Pacific octopus, is a large marine cephalopod. Not only large but the biggest octopus in the world! In fact, the largest individual ever recorded weighed an impressive 600 pounds and measured 30 feet across in length! Of course, this was an exception, so don’t be afraid, since on average, this animal weighs around 110 pounds. But, let’s learn something more about it, shall we?
Where can we find the giant Pacific octopus?
Obviously, as the name suggests, this octopus is found in the Northern Pacific waters. Moreover, its range stretches from the United States, up to Alaska, and all the way to Japan. Since it prefers water temperatures of 60 degrees Fahrenheit and cooler, it mostly occurs on the ocean floor. However, the habitat ranges from shallow, coastal waters to about 330 feet deep. Finally, greatly adapted to cold, oxygen-rich water, this octopus can be seen even on depths of 6,600 feet!
How does the giant Pacific octopus look?
Not only the largest octopus ever, but this giant is also recognized by its typical reddish-pink color. However, armed with special pigment cells below the surface of the skin, our friend can change color, just like a chameleon! Moreover, it has a shell in the head as two small plates and the rest of their body is soft. But, did you know our friend has three hearts and nine brains? No wonder it is super intelligent!
Diet and hunting.
As a carnivore, our octopus will eat a variety of foods. Therefore, it will feed at night on shrimp, crabs, snails, clams, lobsters, fish, but other octopuses. Heck, it even eats small sharks using its beak-like mouth to puncture prey! But, did you know this predator is even able to hunt birds? Photographed by Ginger Morneau, this octopus attacked and drowned a seagull!
Sadly, octopuses die shortly the following breeding. Yet, they still live 4 to 5 years in the wild, making them the longest-living octopuses. So, after mating, the female lays up to 74,000 eggs in a deep den or cave. For seven months, she will live there and watch them closely. In fact, the mother is so dedicated, that she will not leave the cave not even to eat! Thus, that’s the reason why she dies shortly after the babies are born. Finally, after hatching, the paralarvae swim up to the surface to join other plankton.
Did you know these octopuses are ranked as the most intelligent invertebrates? They are able to solve simple puzzles, open childproof bottles, and even use tools!
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