Friday, January 11, 2008

An Octopus and his Mr Potato Head

This may change how I feel about Octopi. I have been re-thinking it and pretty much decided it is giant squid that are my real issue, and this article makes them seem pretty sweet. Then again, I am not sure I like big sacks of goo to be as smart as this article suggests.


Louis the Giant Pacific Octopus is so attached to the Christmas present that was dropped into his aquarium tank, he fights his keepers whenever they try to take the toy from him.

The creature is so fascinated by his new Mr Potato Head toy, which can be dismantled and put back together, that he gets aggressive when staff at Newquay's Blue Reef Aquarium try to take it out of the tank.

Louis - who is 6ft in diameter and is named after Louis Armstrong - formed an unlikely attachment to last year's must-have toy - Mr Potato Head Opti-Mash Prime - after staff gave it to him as a Christmas gift.

Blue Reef curator Matt Slater said they had not anticipated that Louis would become so attached to the toy.

"We thought it would be a nice Christmas present to enrich his environment. We try and give him different items to play with regularly," he said.

"Octopuses are very intelligent and they like to be stimulated and busy.

"Louis is well known for his curiosity and intelligence.

"We've devised a series of puzzles, games and toys to ensure he's getting the mental and physical stimulation he needs but Mr Potato Head is definitely his favourite.

"He's fascinated by it.

"There's even a secret space within Mr Potato Head that allows us to hide tasty treats inside and that perhaps more than anything has resulted in him becoming such a hit.

"He attacks the net we use to fish the toy out every time we try and take Mr Potato Head away."

Mr Slater added that the staff had to prise the toy away from Louis on a daily basis, returning it to him for a few hours of fun each day.

Eighteen-month-old Louis is half way through his life, as the creatures only live to be about three years old. He is expected to grow to be about two metres in length.

The Giant Pacific Octopus is the world's largest species of octopus and is found from Japan to southern California.

The biggest recorded specimen had an arm span of 10m (33ft) and weighed 270kg (600lb).

As well as being the largest, the Giant Pacifics are also among the cleverest members of the cephalopod family.

In the past keepers have used everything from Perspex boxes to rubber toys and even fishing floats to keep the octopuses mentally active.

Octopuses have a solid beak for a mouth, and as long as they can get their beak through an object they are capable of squeezing their whole body through after it - making Louis able to get through a space just an inch in diameter - the size of his beak.


Anonymous said...

That's fascinating. I don't think he'd make a very good pet, though.

Paige said...

The octopus or Mr Potato Head?

I may be coming around on octopus, but I dont want to HAVE one, for God's sake. I just want to see one scuba diving now, and before I wanted nothing to do with it

Amanda said...

This is truly startling! A huge-ass octopus getting through a one-inch hole is more than I can fathom. I guess my brain's too small for this discussion.

I must say that we are delighted to hear that you won't have a happy Louis in your pool this summer. Ed wants to know if you did have an octopus, would you name him "Fingers"? He's odd.

And he almost peed when you asked Mom, the octopus or Mr. Potato Head. You have to give Louis credit-- Mr. Potato Head is a classic. I enjoy that he has such specific taste in entertainment, don't you?

Holly said...

well Louie generated some discussion didn't he?

waves hi to mom and amanda who don't know me.

Paige said...

I do like it even though it bothers me that an octopus would be that smart---I was learning that from Discovery Channel anyway.

do you think you can have an octopus in a salt water aquarium? If you can, and I ever get one, we might name it Fingers for Edward.

Good Lord

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