Last Wednesday morning our female giant Pacific octopus, Squirt, was given a Dungeness crab as a special treat. Although busy dismantling this big meal, she was still taking additional food during the noon and 4pm feedings. Note the large vertical lump between the webbing of Squirt’s arms in the photo below; possibly a leg of the Dungeness crab.
Octopus venom evolved specifically to quickly immobilize crabs, which are potentially dangerous because of their large, powerful claws. The venom may be injected into the crab (after the octopus bites through the exoskeleton with its beak or drills through it with its radula) or absorbed through the gills. The webbing between the octopus’ arms can expand into a tent-like enclosure, trapping the crab so that venom is concentrated in the surrounding water.
Come see Squirt and Rain in the Life of a Drifter exhibit at the Aquarium! We offer daily octopus feedings at noon and 4pm.