The Ocean Dragon – Mr. And Mrs. Octopus
Most certainly there were moments in your life when you wished you had more arms so that you could gain time and do all the things you wished to do. Even so as there is only one animal carrying the name of Octopus and as such being endowed by Mother Nature with neither more nor less than eight arms or better said tentacles you needed to conform yourself and try to do your best with those two arms of yours. Even so you have to admit that octopus is fascinating in its structure and special at the same time.
When it comes to introducing octopuses to you I find it pretty hard since I honestly do not know how to act in their vicinity, what arm should I stretch towards them, which tentacle will they stretch towards me (questions which remain unanswered). It sounds quite funny since as they have eight arms it may be pretty difficult for them to decide which one to use it with us humans, or perhaps they will simply decide to wrap us all and hug us as if they wouldn’t want to let us go. Which variant do consider more likely to happen? In order to somehow try to enlighten you in this pretty disputed subject I shall, if you allow me to, quote an extremely nice poem written by Diana Smith, a poem I managed to come across while documenting myself about octopuses. The poem is significantly entitled “How to Shake Hands with an Octopus”. Here it is: “How do you do?” said Octopus. / “How do you do?” I said. / I stretched my right hand forward, / Then pulled it back instead. / His arms are eight while mine are two. / Do I shake one or four? / And what is left and what is right? / What limbs do I ignore? / His arms are in a circle; / there is no left or right. / I think at times is very hard to try to be polite. / I’ll take a chance, stick out my hand, / and hope he takes the cue; / and if he gives me all his arms, / I’ll say “How do you do?”
After all you can all see that it is not hard to try and be polite even if we are referring to the master octopus in this case. I found this poem extremely funny and I cannot but hope that you enjoyed it too.
Now that I somehow managed to surpass the initial embarrassment if I may say so, I shall continue by “burdening” you with as many interesting details about them as possible. You may end up calling yourself a big octopus fan, in case you were not already such a fan. I bet a journey in their world would be nevertheless fascinating and captivating.
If you ever wondered what an octopus really is then perhaps the most comprising answer would be one stating that they are some mollusks, invertebrates and last but not least the octopus is a cephalopod. Now I shall nevertheless try to explain it better. They are mollusks and as such they are somehow related to snails, oysters, mussels, clams and even limpets. They are invertebrates because they happen to have no bones; and last but not least important they are often referred to as cephalopods for a good reason as they may not have the chairs on their head but they certainly have their “feet” attached to their head. It is precisely this detail (but many others as well) that makes them even more titillating and appealing to our senses.
They may be looking pretty odd when being seen for the first time and you may tend to think that they happen to have a quite rough skin but you would be surprised to hear that in fact their body is soft. For sure when looking at their appearance one may envisage them as some sort of ocean aliens but even so they may amaze you with their intelligence. Did you ever take your time to watch one such octopus alive not in your plate? If you did then you most surely noticed that like the name suggests it they have eight tentacles or arms as some may call them, each of these tentacles being endowed with neither more nor less than 240 so called suction cups which he uses intelligently to tenderly “embrace” its prey. Now be sure that you wouldn’t like being embraced by these tentacles as they may trigger some claustrophobic reactions in you and of course as a minor detail they may lead to your death. How sadistic I can be today! Even so as I am referring only to a virtual “embrace” I shall go on in my periplus in their inoffensive virtual world. They have two eyes like most of us do, yet these eyes are placed on each side of its head. And even more an octopus has the ability to rotate his eyes and as such follow your every move without you even being aware of this. So next time you turn your back to your octopus pet be sure that the very small or at times bigger guy is watching your moves carefully! And honestly I do not blame him in any way since out there in the wild world of the ocean he needed to watch his back carefully and try to vanish away from his predator’s visual sight. They may be deaf but even so they were endowed by Mother Nature with a real sharp vision so as to make him able to notice its predators and have time to act appropriately trying to save its skin. And since I mentioned the suction cups octopuses use when grabbing their prey a simple mathematic reckoning would show you that they have per total 1920 such cups. Quite an affectionate “embrace” don’t you think so?
If you ever wondered where its mouth is then your curiosity is just about to be clarified; its mouth is weird enough located somewhere between its tentacles and as if this mouth and the tentacles were not enough to ensure him a good meal he has also been endowed with some sort of a beak which he uses to eat things with shells. After all you may as well wonder what do these creatures of the sea eat. Well, they may enjoy eating shellfish including here crabs and even other mollusks as well and as they have been endowed with excellent eyesight they go hunting most often during the night. Now just imagine that you were a mollusk which the octopus happens to find quite attractive and delicious and that he just came on tiptoe towards you and practically once he stretched his arms towards you, you stood no chance in front of him, what would you do then? You may feel like tearing apart one of its “arms” but even so this does not manage to kill the ferocious octopus as in case you did not know up to now octopuses somehow possess the strange power to resurrect their arm back. It may sound quite weird but this is in fact what they do, they simply have the capacity to re-grow their arm. In fact if you ever had the tendency to underestimate the octopus’s tentacles and label them as being weak then evidences show that you were wrong. Not only that they are amazingly interesting but they are also strong and it has even been reported that they can carry weights of almost two kilograms with one such tentacle. Those who ever kept one such octopus in an aquarium in they own house know what I am referring to since rumors go that at times feeling deprived of liberty probably they take their time to break free from these aquariums. Therefore they are smart enough to do this and not only this as you will further on discover that in fact they are capable of much more amazing tricks.
Octopuses are so smart that they somehow manage to recognize between various color and shapes and it can even use its tentacles to remove the lid of an aquarium. Therefore we are dealing with quite an intelligent fellow guy!
Since I didn’t manage to finish telling you about its looks I shall go on doing just this. And I have to tell you that if you ever wished to meet a hearty guy then most surely octopus is such a guy as it has neither more nor less than three hearts in its endowment. All of these hearts are placed inside its head and he makes wise use of them all. I say this because if you didn’t know up to now then you are about to find out an interesting and at the same time intriguing fact about octopuses: two of these hearts pump blood through the tentacles and the third one takes care of the rest of its body. Isn’t this just amazing how nature seems to take care of every little detail?
Talking about hearts I shall nevertheless not fail to mention another interesting aspect regarding octopuses, namely that their blood is not red as ours but rather light blue. It may be weird for some of you yet I tend to interpret this as just another amazing fact differentiating them and making them unique.
Being all muscles and no bones octopuses have the strange ability to somehow squeeze themselves through tiny holes and as such save their skin at times. But even so this is not the only weapon they make use of when it comes to techniques used in order to ensure their survival. They may at times look as if they are inviting you to come closer to them and when you do this thinking that they are stupid to let you get closer to them they attack you with some ink. They simply sputter you with this ink and as such making everything more blurry and while you try to figure out what happened to you he manages to hide away. Quite a disorienting weapon for its predators which end up in a cloud of ink which actually manages to weaken their smell senses and in just the blink of an eye allow Mr. Octopus to transform himself into some kind of a Houdini, a master of escape.
But the weapons he wisely uses in order to escape its predators do not end here as he may also choose to simply defy the enemy and using its almost chameleonic ability to change their color fitting their environment in an almost perfect way, manage to one more time escape their predator’s fury and hunger. When changing their colors they look as if they are mocking at their predators saying “Now you jerk trace me if you can!” As long as it works for them and it ensures their survival why not? They can change their color to gray, white, red, brown, blue, purple and even striped. They are therefore what many may call trendy ocean creatures.
Another defensive weapon they tend to widely make use of if they need to do it of course is to simply let go of one of its arms actually not being worried that this will eventually cause their death since they know that it will only take seven or eight weeks for this arm to grow back. I may have said this before but talking about defensive weapons used I could not fail to mention it again. This is just one more detail that makes octopuses even more captivating.
Have you ever wondered where do octopuses live or how many species of octopuses are out there in the waters of this planet? Have you ever wondered how the life of this creature goes on or how long do they live? If you have then you may find the answers to all these questions by simply continuing to stumble upon the words from this article if I may say so.
Octopuses may be met in shallow waters and deep waters as well and some of them may as well live in the Coral Reef. Most often they inhabit dens some sort of crevices inside the rocks that are to be found on the bottom of the water since they are often referred to in terms of bottom dwellers. Even so, there is one small octopus known under the name of the Atlantic pygmy octopus which loves to inhabit empty clamshells. It looks to me that when mentioning octopuses, amazing facts seem to just come one after the other as if not wishing to let us leave unconvinced of their uniqueness. Don’t you think so too?
They can vary in size and as far as their world is pretty vast the biggest octopus known is the so called Giant Octopus as its name actually suggests it and this octopus can reach 30 feet and 400 pounds; on the other hand the smallest octopus known is the so called Californian octopus which can reach up to 1 inch only. Of course their life span varies according to their size and amazingly enough according to their gender as well. As you can all imagine the bigger they are in size the more they will manage to live. When it comes to gender females generally live for shorter periods of time than males which are somehow favored by nature.
If you ever wondered how many species of Octopus exist then the answer to your question is just about to be released: there are just about over 200 known species of Octopus out there in the waters of the world. The most known species are perhaps the following ones: the Pacific Red Octopus, The Giant Pacific Octopus (which I have already mentioned), and The Reef Octopus and of course the already famous if I may say so blue ringed octopus. Why do I say that this octopus is already famous? Mainly because it is well known for its deadly poison which can even kill us humans. Therefore be sure to stay away from them and no matter how much you may feel like you need their affectionate “hug” better look at a stranger on the street than appeal to its services (if I may ironically say so).
If it were for us to talk about their life cycle (some sort of a small talk as some may rightfully interpret it as such) it all starts with an egg out of which comes a baby octopus which later on grows up into an adult octopus and of course he dedicates himself too to the pleasures of life and as such starts looking for a mating partner. This may not be the best choice they make in their lives since for females this kind of proves to be fatal. Why do I say this? You’ll see! So, I was saying that they mate around the age of 1 or 2 (pretty early if you ask me, but after all it’s their body and not mine as some of you may ironically say!). After females lay eggs they practically dedicate the rest of their lives to these eggs. They seem to be so dedicated mothers that they sacrifice themselves in favor of their babies and forget about their survival needs; all this just to guard their eggs and make sure that out of these eggs healthy babies are just about to come out. Therefore eventually the survivors will be the eggs but even so they remain orphans as their mother dies soon after the eggs will hatch. And so their life seems to follow the same predetermined path every time (Quite boring some may say! They don’t go to the disco, they don’t see their babies growing, and they don’t have the chance to enjoy life for longer periods of time!) Even so they appear to be using every second of their life to amaze us with their physical and intellectual attributes.
I honestly do not think that there is someone out there who doesn’t like them or if not like them at least find them interesting. First of all it is the physical impact one has when coming across an octopus, then there are the many details which simply attract us towards them. Did you know that octopuses have the ability to change their color in just an instant? They do it not only to mistaken their predators but as well in order to attract a mate. Another fact when talking about octopuses is that they can at times be so stressed out that they can even recur to rather unorthodox measures to end their sufferance such as eating themselves. Of course they may start doing this with their arms but unfortunately they may as well continue and go on eating the rest of their body as well. It is not yet sure why they do this but even so they do it. This must be as shocking to you as it was to me when I found out this fact.
Even though they do not have a very long life and their life span varies from six months to several years one can think of no possible reason for them to do this.
But since I do not intend to make you sad I have to come out with something funny. Let’s see what’s left there for me to try and make you smile! And what better way to do this if not by telling you a couple of jokes about them! So, do you happen to know how an octopus goes to war? If you don’t then find out that the answer is “Well-armed!” And if you didn’t find out up to now the answer to the following question “Who has eight guns and terrorizes the ocean?” then the answer to this question is just this “Billy the Squid!”.
Hope I somehow managed to make you smile and increase your “octopus culture” at the same time. Oh, looking back I managed to see that I somehow failed to mention to you the fact that octopuses actually paralyze their prey when strongly holding it in that affectionate embrace as I simply love to call their “hug” like this. If the predator, which can be either a shark or a whale or even a dolphin, manages to scare them enough then they may turn white. So, if you happen to see a white octopus then you should perhaps know that in fact this “coat” was not meant to impress any mate or you but rather indicates deep fear. Now do not tend to look down at them and hurry up to judge them since even heroes have their moments of weakness do they?
How these odd creatures manage to travel across the waters in search for food, you may as well wonder. Amazingly enough they may be either swimming or crawling and at times they even make use of what scientists label as being some sort of jet propulsion. Interesting detail, isn’t it?
Another interesting detail which one more time comes to confirm the idea that small essences are due to be found in small recipients is the fact that generally speaking the smaller the octopus is the more poisonous its “embrace” can be. And funny enough did you know that out there in the waters of this world there is a so called Dumbo octopus, called so namely because their ears look just like the ears of an elephant? No matter how weird this may sound there as well some octopuses called blanket octopuses. Isn’t this amazing how men use their imagination even when it comes to baptizing animals?
And I cannot fail to mention another interesting detail when it comes to octopuses. You may have pictured the black widow as the only female insect eating her partner from time to time, not on a regular basis, but you should also know that it has been discovered that female big blue octopuses may also eat their males once copulation is done. After all what’s the use of keeping them alive? I am ironic again and I hope you notice this!
Either cooked (as I have to tell you that while looking for information about them I managed to find out some recipes as well) or kept in an aquarium or even out there in the salty waters and oceans of our planet octopuses happen to be nevertheless amazingly interesting and appealing to our senses.
Even though many of you may not be able to deem any poetry in octopuses I will end this trip into their world by quoting the lines from another funny and nice poem called “Octavius The Octopus Poem”: “Now you may think I’m an ugly guy / And I admit I can see why / Eight arms you’ll find that I have grown / While you have only two of your own. / You’ll find that gloves I do not wear / The cost of them I could not bear / And there’s too many for me to hem / And I would need four pairs of them. / Now you may think I have no spine / The way my prey I can entwine / And how within a jar I hide /When danger I must let subside. / But I will tell you here and now / Such rumor I will not allow / A brave hear beats within my chest /And I can wrestle with the best. / So if you dare to come around / I’ll try to pin you to the ground / And if that tactic will not do / Then I’ll squirt some ink at you!”11