People are sometimes scared of octopus because their long tentacles look spooky and think they can hurt you. I’m not afraid of octopus because I know they don’t hurt people. This week at SeaWorld San Diego I met my very first octopus with Mike, the assistant curator of fishes. I went to his lab to see the octopus that will be in a new exhibit. He is super excited about it opening soon.
There will be different types of cephalopods in this exhibit. Cephalopod is a fancy name for their scientific classification. First I met a big octopus that doesn’t have a name yet. Mike asked what it should be named and I said I would have to think about it. I think Rosy or Googly Eye would be perfect names! I touched the octopus’ tentacles and it started turning orange. Did you know that if there is more than one octopus, you call them octopi? Octopi are very smart and can smell really good. They change colors sometimes when they don’t recognize the smell or when they get excited.
Next I met an octopus named Wesley. He was very cute and friendly.
Mike gave Wesley an octopus toy and shrimp in a closed container. I knew Wesley would be able to open the container because he is so smart. Wesley worked really hard to get the shrimp out. He figured out there were holes in the side of the big container and he put his tentacle inside to get the snack.
The octopus tentacles felt rubbery when I touched them. The suckers made a funny noise when they attached to my arm but it didn’t hurt at all. It kind of felt like a vacuum on me. Octopi do not have bones. They can fit through very small spaces but have to be careful because lots of things in the ocean like to eat them.
I also met cuttlefish. They are similar to octopus because they can change colors too. All the cuttlefish were looking at me and changing colors!
I was so excited to spend time with Mike and learn about octopus! Mike spends a lot of time with the octopi and knows a lot about them.
I can’t wait for the new exhibit to open so everyone can see how neat octopi really are.