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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 her new habitat. Look around – you’ll soon spot a arm (they're not tentacles), 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

One Fish, Two Fish…

What better way to go back-to-school than at an aquarium? Here at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, we have two huge aquariums to choose from, with schools of fish to make any Dr. Seuss fan happy! Here’s our version of the familiar classic. Read, then come and meet all the characters in real life, at … Continued

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And her name is…Gertie!

After a week of public voting, fans chose Gertie as the name for the new giant Pacific octopus in the Pacific Seas Aquarium at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. The name was one of six names chosen by aquarists. Over 7,100 votes came in online during the week, and the race was close. Gertie topped … Continued

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Jellyfishing

On an overcast morning, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s jelly team readies their boat and heads out into Puget Sound to a cove between Vashon and Maury Islands. The goal: collecting moon jellies. Moon jellies are plentiful in the waters around the Pacific Northwest and the jelly team will try to collect up to 100 … 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.