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Meet the Octopus

Our Summer Reading Program is about to begin and this year’s theme is Make a Splash @ Your Library! We’re going to make a splash into the ocean this month and Tickle Your Brain using all eight tentacles.

Octopuses (or octopi) are amazing creatures and come in many sizes, from over 30 feet long to only 4 inches in size, but they all have eight tentacles (the word octopus means "eight feet"). Octopuses are in the same family as squid; no one knows exactly how many species of octopuses there are, but there are more than 100.

Did you know?

  • Octopuses are extremely talented creatures. They can change color and shape to match their surroundings and have excellent eyesight. They are very curious, learn quickly, and can learn to solve problems, such as how to open a screw-top jar
    Because they have no bones, an octopus can squeeze through very small holes and crevices. For some octopuses that hole can be as small as the size of a dime!
  • Octopuses get around by squirting water out of their body, jet-propelling themselves through the sea
  • Octopuses have membranes between their arms that they use to catch crabs, shrimp, and snails. They snatch their prey with their beaks, inject poison into them, and then take them home to eat. The giant octopus can even kill sharks!
  • Octopuses can squirt black ink to cloud the water, keeping predators from finding them as they escape. This ink is toxic, even to the octopus
  • An octopus can lose an arm to escape a predator's grasp and re-grow it later with no permanent damage
  • Common octopuses like their homes to have curb-appeal and will collect crustacean shells and other objects to construct fortresses, or "gardens," around their lairs. They also like to keep their homes clean. After a meal, an octopus will squirt jets of water to push the leftovers out

Get Your Tentacles On These Great Titles!

The Amazing Octopus
Kalman, Bobbie
Explores how these tentacled animals move through water, how they hunt, how they use camouflage and other protection defenses, and why octopuses are important in oceans around the world.
Schaefer, Lola M.
Simple text and photographs introduce octopuses and their behavior.
Who Lives in the Sea?
Teaches children and their parents about a variety of marine animals living in the ocean, including sea lions, dolphins, octopus, whale sharks, and blue-footed booby birds.

Tickle Your Brain