10 fascinating octopus facts that you probably didn't know
by Jorge Mezcua on Feb 20, 2023
Extremely intelligent, skilled, elusive, large predators, and rare. Very rare. Almost alien. Octopuses are extraordinary creatures in many ways. Check this 10 octopus fun facts that will make you look at them in awe from now on.
1. All octopuses are poisonous
A study conducted four years ago revealed that all octopuses have toxins that they use to paralyze their prey. However, only one of them contains a venom that is fatal to humans: the blue-ringed octopus, one of the most venomous animal species in the world. This small octopus is known to have killed two people.
Could we call this extreme diving? Image by Stephen Childs
2. They have a beak
Octopuses have only one really hard part of their body, their beak. This beak, made of chitin, is located in their mouth, in the middle of their body, and looks like a parrot's beak. It is through this beak that they inoculate themselves with the venom produced in their saliva, which we mentioned in the previous point.
3. They smell through their arms
The octopuses' sense of smell is found in the approximately 1,600 suction cups on each arm, which also provide them with a sense of touch.
4. They can enter through almost any cavity
Octopuses have no internal or external skeleton, so they are almost entirely muscle. This allows them to squeeze through any opening they need to escape, hide from a predator, or reach their prey. No wonder they are called the "Houdini Octopus".
5. They can lay up to 100,000 eggs
Mimic octopus taking care of eggs
The number of eggs octopuses can lay varies greatly from species to species, but the can lay up to 100.000! Another curious aspect of octopus reproduction is that the females put so much effort into perpetuating the species that they die for it. Mothers stop eating to defend the eggs, provide them with oxygen, and clean them of impurities by constantly pumping water. A month after the eggs are laid, new octopuses hatch and the hardworking mother dies.
6. They have 3 hearts...
And their blood is blue! Yes, octopuses have a bluish tone in their blood because instead of hemoglobin they use hemocyanin to transport oxygen. The presence of copper in this protein gives it that bluish color.
7. They are capable of imitating other animal species
The incredible Mimic Octopus (Thaumoctopus mimicus) is able to simulate the shape and movements and shape of up to 15 different marine species. This strategy allows it to scare off predators by pretending to be poisonous creatures such as sea snakes or lionfish.
8. There are more than 300 different species of octopus
From species capable of surviving at depths of more than 2,000 meters to others that use their arms to walk, some that live all their lives in the open sea or others so intelligent that they use tools to protect themselves from attacks by predators, there are over 300 species of octopuses.
We can find from the largest octopus, the giant octopus of the Pacific, capable of weighing 150 kg, to the pygmy octopus of the Atlantic (Octopus joubini), which reaches a maximum of 9 cm. It's quite a world of octopuses, isn't it?
9. They can get rid of an arm to escape
Octopuses have many strategies for escape: expelling ink, camouflaging themselves, hiding in any crevice... but when all else fails, they have one last option. Just like some lizards do with their tails, octopuses can shed one of their arms to fool their attacker and escape.
10. They can be easily confused with the environment
Check out this wonderful video of the extraordinary ability of these creatures to camouflage themselves.