The Great Giant Pacific Octopus
The giant Pacific octopus is an amazing looking creature. They grow larger than any other octopus breed, with an average size of 9 to 16 feet (2.7 to 4.9 meters) and an average weight of 22 to 110 pounds (10 to 50 kilograms). The largest giant pacific octopus ever recorded was 30 ft. (91.4 meters) long and had a weight of 600 pounds (272.2 kilograms). Unlike humans, male giant Pacific octopi grow faster than females, but normally end up smaller. The average arm span of a giant Pacific octopus is 14 feet and the average arm length is 8 feet.
Giant Pacific octopi have a large bulbous head and 8 arms (referred to as arms not tentacles). Giant Pacific octopi have suckers on each arm, which allows them to latch on to surfaces. Giant Pacific octopi also have a large beak that can easily puncture and tear through shells. As a part of its mouth giant Pacific octopi has a barbed tongue, which is able to fish animals like crabs or mollusks out of their shells. The giant Pacific octopus is of a reddish brow color, but like other species of octopi, they have the ability to change the color of their skin to fit their surroundings.
The giant Pacific octopus’ habitat is quite extraordinary. The giant Pacific octopus lives in places around the Pacific Ocean (hence the name). They mainly live on the coast of Japan, southern California, North America’s Pacific, the Aleutian Islands, and Alaska. They live between shallow waters (below low tide) and depths of 1,500 feet. Giant Pacific octopi live near rocky coastlines and in dens and caves around rocky areas. Small octopi normally build dens in sand shell areas. Most giant Pacific octopi live in deep water from February to April and August to October.
Although giant Pacific octopi are huge, they didn’t start off that way. When giant Pacific octopi are born they are eggs. After seven months the eggs hatch into larvae. The larvae then swim to the surface and live as plankton for about 2 months. The ones that survive go to the ocean floor. From that point they grow quickly. Males and females reach maturity between 2 and 3 years of age, at 12 pounds for males and 20 pounds for females. Males transform one arm (normally the third or fifth) into a mating arm. Mating happens between the depths of 65.6 and 328 feet (20 to 100 meters) and takes several hours. The male dies about 2 to 3 months after mating. The female lays 20,000 to 100,000 eggs, which she strings from the ceiling of her den. The female takes care of the eggs by doing things like blowing water on them until they hatch. The female dies shortly after the eggs hatch.
Giant Pacific octopi have a very interesting way of capturing and eating food. Giant Pacific octopi are carnivores and a giant Pacific octopus’ diet consists of shrimp, clams, lobsters, bivalves, crabs, mollusks, and crustaceans. It has been seen that giant Pacific octopi eat sharks, birds, and fish, but it is a rare occurrence. Giant Pacific octopi normally hunt at night. The reason giant Pacific octopi eat animals with shells is because they are easy to catch. They get into the shell with their strong beak like mouth. Then they erode the shell while their saliva detaches the animal from the shell. Then they can pull the animal out with their barbed tongue. Although giant Pacific octopi are large when they are grown, they are still prey to some animals in their egg, larvae, and juvenile form. These animals are the harbor seal, sperm whale, and sea otter.
As you can see the giant Pacific octopus is an amazing creature because of all of its abilities.