Giant Pacific Octopuses are red in color but are able to change both color and texture if threatened.

Unlike the human head, an octopus head (the dorsal mantle), holds more than just the brain. It also contains the reproductive organs and digestive organs. Oddly enough, an octopus's mouth is actually a beak, very similar to a bird's. This beak is the only hard part of the octopus body and is located on the underside of the dorsal mantle, located in the middle of its arms. The size of the beak determines if an octopus fits somewhere or not!

Each tentacle has two rows of suckers, the largest being close to its mouth/beak and the smallest at the tip of each arm. Each sucker can move and taste independently. They are also very strong! When aquarists interact with our Giant Pacific Octopus the powerful suction of the suckers often leaves small “octohickies” in the shape of the suckers on their forearms.

Where to Find on Campus: Eckstein Family Rivers to the Sea exhibit, National Rivers Center

Diet: Octopus has a varied diet of clams, small fishes, squid, and shrimp. 

Lifespan: A Giant Pacific Octopus can live four to five years in the wild or in captivity. They are the largest species of octopus with specimens capable of growing to a radius of 31.5 feet.

Females live to reproduce, so they grow very fast. After reproduction males pass away and females will spend the rest of their lives caring for the eggs. She will gently blow water over the eggs and guard them until she passes, ensuring the eggs are kept safe and healthy.

Did you know?

Giant Pacific Octopuses are very intelligent animals! If you happen to see what look like toys or jars in the exhibit don’t worry, aquarists use them as enrichment. Enrichment is meant to challenge our animals and bring out their natural behaviors. At the Museum & Aquarium, some of our octopus’s favorite enrichment items are plastic jars filled with food and a Mr. Potato Head toy.


Octopus Encounter

Have you ever wanted to get up close and personal with an octopus? If so sign-up for our new octopus encounter.  Enjoy interacting with our octopus and receive a special behind the scenes tour of the Eckstein Family Rivers to the Sea exhibit with one of our Living Collections team.

Book your tour