Octopuses – Did You Know?

In my new Did You Know blog series, learn 10 fun facts about one animal in 5 minutes. In the series, I’ll tell you stuff you didn’t already know (hopefully). Let me know how many surprised you! Let’s start off with one soft-bodied cephalopod: the octopus. 

Did You Know that octopuses…

1. …Have three hearts. Yup! One pumps blood through the body (systemic) and the other two pump blood through each of the two gills (branchial).

2. …Have a relatively short life expectancy. Some smaller species live for only 6 months.

3. …Can die from reproduction. Females can die of starvation after their eggs hatch (they don’t eat while they take care of unhatched eggs), and males can die immediately or a few months after mating. Sexual unhealing.

4. …Can kill a person. The blue-ringed octopus bite is so toxic it can kill you within minutes. Not a great choice for a pet.

5. …Usually have no internal skeleton. The only hard part of their body is the beak (except in octopuses of the Cirrina order, which have an internal shell).

800px-Hapalochlaena_lunulata2
The greater blue-ringed octopus (Hapalochlaena lunulata). Wikipedia Commons. Blue-ringed octopuses are known to be one of the world’s most venomous marine animals.

6. …Have a beak that helps them squeeze through very narrow gaps when escaping from predators like moray eels and predatory fish.

7. …Have eight arms with suction cups that are highly touch-sensitive. The suction cups help them sense many aspects of their environment, such as recognising other octopusessurface curvature and shape, and taste.

8. …May eject viscous ink when they feel threatened. Inking in cephalopods acts as a defence by distracting and deterring predators, provides a smokescreen to hide behind, and causes sensory confusion in predators, such as by mimicking the smell of food.

9. …Are highly intelligent among invertebrates. They are quick to solve problems and some have been known to use tools, reflecting their superior cognitive abilities.

10. …Can change colour in a matter of seconds or minutes to match or mimic their environment for camouflage against predators, to flash a warning signal, and to signal to other octopuses.

Feel free to make suggestions about other animals you want to see featured in the series!

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