Giant Pacific octopus

Just in time for Octopus Week, we bring you a typical day in the life of a giant Pacific octopus (GPO) in our care!

Morning checkup
“We check their overall health first thing,” says Senior Aquarist Kathryn Kegel. “We’re looking for a calm, resting state, indicated by whitish coloration and slow, rhythmic respiration.”

Three squares a day
The octopuses are offered options including shrimp, herring, mackerel and clams—with the occasional crab as a special treat. GPOs can consume between two and four percent, and gain between one and two percent of their body weight each day. They’re remarkably efficient animals, converting almost everything they eat into growing.

Brain games
GPOs are highly intelligent—and, like all animals at the Aquarium, enrichment is an important element of their daily routine. “We try to encourage their naturally inquisitive behavior,” says Kathryn. “We give them plenty of opportunities for problem-solving and finding food, similar to what they’d experience in the wild.”

Potty talk
And, because what goes in must come out, poop is another element of a GPO’s day. “It’s long and stringy, like a shoelace, and it varies in color, thickness and consistency,” Kathryn laughs. She declined to comment about its smell!

Interested in learning more? Check out our GPO fact sheet—and come get an up-close look at these fascinating animals at the Aquarium during Octopus Week!

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