Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Giant Pacific Octopus

Enteroctopus dofleini

The Giant Pacific Octopus is the largest species of octopus. On average, GPOs reach 16 feet in length and weigh 110 pounds. Each of its 8 arms may measure over 6 feet!

Range & Habitat

Giant Pacific Octopuses range throughout the temperate waters of the Pacific Ocean from southern California to Alaska, and west to the Aleutian Islands and Japan.

Diet

In the Wild -- shrimp, clams, lobsters, sharks, birds, crabs, smaller octopuses, scallops, abalones, moon snails, rockfish, flatfish, sculpins.

At the Zoo: smelt, herring, clams, scallops, shrimp, mussels.

Life Span

In the Wild – 3-5 years; In Human Care – 3-5 years.

Fun Facts about the Giant Pacific Octopus

  • The only part of an octopus (or any cephalopod) that is not soft and pliable is its beak, a hard structure similar to a parrot’s beak that serves as its mouth.
  • A 50-pound octopus can squeeze through a hole only 2 inches in diameter. If the beak fits, it can get through.
  • Octopuses are about 90% muscle.
  • Octopuses frequently lose an arm to predators, but it can grow back.

Sources

Aquarium of the Bay. (n.d.). Giant pacific octopus. Retrieved from http://aquariumofthebay.org/pages/detail/1443

ARKive. (n.d.). North pacific giant octopus (enteroctopus dofleini). Retrieved from http://www.arkive.org/north-pacific-giant-octopus/enteroctopus-dofleini/

Georgia Aquarium. (n.d.). Giant pacific octopus. Retrieved from http://www.georgiaaquarium.org/animalguide/georgia-pacificcoldwaterquest/giantpacificoctopus.aspx

Hartis, C. (2011). Enteroctopus dofleini. Retrieved from http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Enteroctopus_dofleini/

Lamon, P. (2011, September 1). Fun animal facts: giant pacific octopus. Retrieved from http://www.seattleaquarium.org/octopus

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries. (2012, August 17). Understanding the elusive giant pacific octopus. Retrieved from http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2012/08/08_17_2012_octopus_video.html

Smithsonian National Zoological Park. (n.d.). Giant pacific octopus. Retrieved from http://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/invertebrates/facts/cephalopods/factsheets/pacificoctopus.cfm

Updated December 3, 2020
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