octopus in a coconut shell on the ocean floor

What has eight arms, three hearts, and a huge brain? One of the most fascinating creatures that live in the ocean, the octopus! 

Octopuses are invertebrates, meaning they do not have a spine. There are around 300 different species of octopuses in the world, living in every ocean around the globe. Different species specialize at living in different parts of the ocean, from the deepest trenches to shallow tide pools. Octopuses have many different adaptations that help them survive. Some are experts at camouflage and can disguise themselves as other sea creatures. Many octopuses squirt ink to confuse predators trying to hunt them. Others can detach one of their tentacles if it is grabbed by a predator and regrow a new one. 

One of the most remarkable things about the octopus is its intelligence. Scientists have discovered that octopuses can solve mazes, recognize patterns, and use objects to make tools, such as creating protective armor out of a coconut shell. Octopuses have both long and short term memories, just like humans. 

Inky's Great Escape headline chyron over a picture of Inky the octopus who escaped from the New Zealand National Aquarium in 2016
various pictures of the Blue-Ringed Octopus
Did You Know?
  • The most venomous octopus in the world is the Blue-Ringed Octopus. Blue-Ringed Octopus venom can paralyze and kill an adult human in minutes if not treated. 
  • In 2016, an octopus named Inky became famous after escaping from the New Zealand National Aquarium. He found a way to push back the lid of his tank, climb out, cross the floor to a tiny drain opening, and squeeze his way down the pipe out to the ocean. The only clue he left behind for the keepers was a wet trail on the floor. 
  • The Giant Pacific Octopus can grow up to 20 ft long and weigh more than 150 pounds.