Skip to main content

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

Sculpting Sand Species

Q: Where in the world would you find an elephant, a sea turtle and an axolotl all together? A: In Species in the Sand, the new sand sculpture this summer at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium! Beginning mid-May, our sculpting team led by Tacoma native Sue McGrew will return to create another incredible sculpture – … Continued

Read More
X-ray Vision, Underwater

It’s magical enough to stand inside the Pacific Seas Aquarium and gaze at shimmering scales, cruising sea turtles or impossibly long wolf eels. But with x-ray vision, a whole new underwater world reveals itself. Thanks to our veterinary team, who regularly take radiographs of our Pacific Seas Aquarium animals to check on their health and … Continued

Read More
Making Turtle Waves

UPDATE: May 1, 2019 We did it! We made 3,600 paper turtles, glueing them onto ten blue silk “waves” to create a cascading spiral of ocean beauty in the Pacific Seas Aquarium. And we raised $10,068 for ocean conservation, thanks to the Ocean Art Challenge sponsored by the Bezos Family Foundation, and all the hundreds … Continued

Read More
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.