Posts Tagged 'giant pacific octopus'

Happy World Octopus Day!

Did you know? Today is (the 10th annual) World Octopus Day!

Octopuses (yes, THAT is the correct plural of octopus) are cephalopods – a class name derived from the Greek word cephalopoda, meaning “head-feet.” These incredibly unique animals are characterized by their bilateral symmetry, a body shape that primarily includes a large head and set of arms or tentacles.

Out of the 800 identified living species of cephalopods, 300 of those species are octopuses! Here at the Aquarium, we have a giant Pacific octopus on exhibit. We spoke to Aquarist Katie Webster about what it’s like to care for it:

Octopuses are among the most intelligent species in the animal kingdom. In total, an octopus has 500 million neurons, located in both its brain and throughout its arms. In addition to grabbing onto prey and climbing rocky underwater structures, an octopus uses its suckers to taste and sense.

Check out this awesome infographic to learn even more about these incredible animals: 

national aquarium octopus infographic

Animal Updates – August 30

Between our Baltimore and Washington, DC, venues, more than 17,500 animals representing 900 species call the National Aquarium home. There are constant changes, additions, and more going on behind the scenes that our guests may not notice during their visit. We want to share these fun updates with our community so we’re bringing them to you in our weekly Animal Update posts!

Check our blog every Friday to find out what’s going on… here’s what’s new this week!

Our Giant Pacific Octopus exhibit is back up! 

After weeks of necessary habitat maintenance, our giant Pacific octopus is back on exhibit!

national aquarium giant pacific octopus

Did you know? Octopuses are mollusks, related to squid, clams, and snails. Like squid, they are cephalopods, meaning ‘head-foot’, so named because the feet (arms) are attached to the head.

They’re highly-intelligent animals. To encourage cognitive thinking, we offer our octopus enrichment toys. Watch this video of an octopus using its 1,800 suction cups to dismantle a Mr. Potato Head:

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!

Celebrating Moms of ALL Species!

In celebration of Mother’s Day weekend, we’d like you to meet some spectacular animal moms!

Dolphins
Dolphin moms & calves immediately form a strong bond. They’ll synchronize their breathing and swim patterns for the baby’s first few weeks of life – to keep as close as possible. These dedicated moms will nurse their young for up to 10 years!

dolphin mom and calf

Veteran dolphin moms will also mentor less-experienced females in their colony by allowing them to babysit their young and practice for when they have their own babies.

Giant Pacific Octopuses
Female giant Pacific octopuses have one primary goal: to have one successful brood of eggs in her lifetime.

giant pacific octopus

Females will lay about 200,000 eggs in their lair and defend them at any cost. During the seven months of caring for her eggs, the female octopus is often almost starved to death – she’d ingest a limb before leaving her post for food.

Strawberry Poison Arrow Frogs
After laying her eggs and watching them hatch, strawberry poison arrow frog moms will carry their tadpoles (one by one) from the rain forest floor up trees as high as 100 feet!

strawberry poison frog

Then, she’ll find individual pools of water in the tree leaves for each of her tadpoles to grow, keeping them safe from predators.

Alligators
Alligator moms will go to great lengths to protect their young, including carrying alligator babies in their jaws for protection!

baby alligators

Juvenile American alligators at National Aquarium, Washington, DC

Alligator babies will typically stay close to mom for their first year of life.

Celebrating Ivy’s first Mother’s Day!
This past year, our Linne’s two-toed sloth, Ivy, became a first-time mom to baby, Camden! Making this Mother’s Day a special one for our Aquarium family!

baby sloth

Ivy with her baby Camden!

Animal Update – February 8

Between our Baltimore and Washington, DC, venues, more than 17,500 animals representing 900 species call the National Aquarium home. There are constant changes, additions, and more going on behind the scenes that our guests may not notice during their visit. We want to share these fun updates with our community so we’re bringing them to you in our weekly Animal Update posts!

Check our blog every Friday to find out what’s going on… here’s what’s new this week!

AnimalUpdated_DC

Baby Giant Pacific Octopus!

We have a new giant Pacific octopus on exhibit! Currently the size of a softball, this species can grow to weigh up to 90 lbs! In fact, they are the largest species of octopus in the world.

baby octopus

Found in the coastal regions of the North Pacific, the giant Pacific octopus is highly intelligent and adaptable, making them a hard catch for predators.

These masters of camouflage can quickly change the color and texture of their skin to match the background. By rapidly drawing water into the mantle and expelling it through the tube-like siphon, they can jet themselves backward, away from danger.

Once this juvenile matures a bit, our staff will begin regular enrichment exercises to encourage cognitive thinking.

octopus enrichment

Aquarist Morgan Denney facilitating an enrichment with our giant Pacific octopus in Baltimore!

One exercise involves giving the octopus a container with food inside. The octopus opens the container quickly, using more than 1,800 suction cups that help it locate and taste the item inside.

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!


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