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NATURE
Animal Guide :: Marine Life :: Octopus

Octopuses (or octopi) are truly fascinating creatures and come in many sizes, from over 30 feet long to only 4 inches in size, but they all have eight tentacles (the word octopus means "eight feet"). Octopuses are in the same family as squid, but no one knows exactly how many species of octopuses there are, though they number well over 100.

  • Octopuses are extremely talented creatures. They can change color and shape, and many can squeeze through a hole the size of a dime!

  • Octopuses are very smart and have excellent eyesight. They can learn to solve problems and remember things, such as how to open a glass jar.

  • Octopuses prefer to live alone.

  • They get around by squirting water out of their body, jet-propelling through the sea.

    Where do they live?
    Octopuses are found in waters all over the earth. They like to hide in rocks and crevices and can squeeze into tiny holes, as they have no bones.

    What do they eat?
    Octopuses have membranes between their arms that they use to catch crabs, shrimp, and snails. They snatch their prey with their beaks, inject poison into them, and then take them home to eat. The giant octopus can even kill sharks!

    Animal Fact
    Octopuses can squirt black ink to cloud the water, keeping predators from finding them as they escape. This ink is toxic, even to the octopus.

    Did You Know?
    Octopuses are constantly surprising scientists -- in one research lab, they climbed out of their tanks at night to raid the crab tank!

    Related Episodes
    Dive to the Abyss
    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/abyss/

    Incredible Suckers
    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/suckers/

    The Octopus Show
    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/octopus/

    Victims of Venom
    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/victims/