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Giant Pacific octopus

Did you know?

Enteroctopus dofleini

Brainy and beautiful, this is the largest octopus species on Earth! Divers in Puget Sound often see mature octopuses that are 15 feet across and weigh about 50 pounds.

Peer in into the den

Hiding in camouflage
Can you spot it?
Octopuses love to hide in rocky crevices or “dens”, and we’ve given our octopus plenty of those in its new habitat. Look around – you’ll soon spot a tentacle, often camouflaged to match the rocks.
Eat clams
And grow fast.
A newly hatched octopus is ¼-inch long. Since it only lives 3 to 5 years it must grow fast!
Resting in a den by day, it emerges at night to feast on crabs and clams, doubling its weight every 2 or 3 months.
Protecting the eggs
for the rest of her life.
After mating, a female giant Pacific octopus lays thousands of eggs in long strands of around 250, attached to the roof of her den. She then protects without eating for around 7 months.
She’ll only lay eggs once – and soon after that she will die. It’s the last, most important thing she does.
Puzzle fiend
and master of camouflage.
Octopuses are curious and smart, and love to explore their environment using their strong, dexterous arms. They have been known to unscrew jars and solve puzzles.
They are also masters of disguise, changing the color of their skin from moment to moment via pigment cells just under the skin.

Protecting the Ocean

It takes all of us.

THE THREAT: Happily, the giant Pacific octopus population is in good shape, since they have such short lives, lay so many eggs and are not heavily fished.

TAKE ACTION: But other species featured in our aquariums aren’t as lucky. Find out more about protecting our ocean on our Care conservation page.

Aquarium Stories

Making Turtle Waves

The look on Keilan Fowora’s face was priceless. “Are these real?” asked the seven-year-old, running his fingers over a sea turtle shell and the sharp teeth on a shark jaw bone. “Yep, they’re real,” assured Heather Detwiler, outreach associate for Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, standing behind the table at Tacoma’s STAR Center. Then Keilan’s … Continued

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Spider crabs make a scientific splash

Aquarist Mikiko Williams, clad in a black wetsuit, stood in the Japanese Spider Crab habitat at the Pacific Seas Aquarium, reached down, gently picked up an animal that weighed about 8 pounds and hoisted it up and out of the water. It was just after 8:30 a.m., the Zoo would open in an hour, and … Continued

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Caring for the small: Rockfish and seahorse

In a corridor surrounded by pipes, tanks and equipment, three women crouch over a tub. One – an intern veterinarian – carefully handles a Q-tip swab. The second – a veterinarian – readies a microscope slide. The third – an aquarist – has her gloved hands submerged, gently holding a china rockfish. A fourth aquarist … Continued

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Who's Nearby?
Fascinated by our octopus? Then check out the Coastal Kelp Forest just opposite, full of other sea animals that live in Puget Sound and beyond.