Octopuses. Octopi. Octopods. Octoblets. No wait, that last one isn’t real. Don’t worry about me. Just trying out different plural words for octopus. It’s important to know the correct terminology. If I’m ever at an aquarium and a passing adolescent wizard accidentally disappears the glass away I don’t want to cry out for help and look like an ignorant fool. I need to have the correct words on hand to describe the tidal wave of writhing tentacles and snapping beaks attacking me. Which brings me to a good point actually. Did you know that there are three different ways to make ‘octopus’ plural? Octopi, octopods, and octopuses are all technically correct. I mean that’s kinda interesting, right? Well, only kinda. But what is interesting is that we here at Digzoo have some more cool facts about these eight legged blobs of fun. So let’s get started and learn some cool new science facts!
1. Octopuses have blue blood
Yup. Octopus blood uses copper and not iron to transport oxygen around your body (if you don’t know much about science here’s a recap: your blood uses iron to transport oxygen). Iron is the chemical responsible for our blood being red because iron typically reacts with other chemicals to make a red pigment (like, say, rust which is also red). But copper typically reacts to make a blue colour so octopus blood is blue like in the picture above! That’s some alien sh*t right there!
2. Octopuses have beaks that can and will snap fingers off
Who needs to sleep anymore, right? Pictures like that belong in a sci-fi film but unfortunately the truth is they come straight from an octopus’ gross pointy mouth. You see octopuses look all silly, bobbing up and down in the water with eight tentacles and goofy faces but they still need to eat and do other stuff. Like other molluscs (i.e. snails) they have shells but those shells are on the inside and only really exist in their mouths. So say hello to an octopus beak! Sharp, pointy, and really hard to spot in a swirling pile of tentacles, ink, and hideous obsidian eyes! Who’s to say sharks own the sea, eh? Is there anything freakier than a giant pile of soft mush with a single, razor sharp, beak hidden away that’s just waiting to snip an ear or finger off as its ropey tentacles explore your face? No! The answer is no!
3. Octopuses are CRAZY smart
You’ve definitely heard this one before! But let’s give it a recap. Just in case you didn’t know… Octopuses are super smart. This is really impressive because they’re in the same family as slugs and clams so the fact they’re smart means they’re kinda weird for their family. How smart you ask? Well some octopuses use coconuts as tools. Lots of octopuses are clever enough to escape aquariums (one even squirted water at an electrical outlet to short the electricity just to mess with the staff). One escaped to the ocean via the toilet. They’re often solving cool puzzles to get to food. They’ve even been known to pile rocks up to create walls to hide and sleep behind, pull apart the plumbing of their tanks, and they even play about with toys!
4. Octopuses have nine brains and three hearts
Octopuses have to spread their brains out a bit to control their gangly bodies. This means that above each arm is a big lump of neurons to help control the arm. Some people have pointed out that a big lump of neurons that controls something is occasionally called a “brain” so that means, in some definitions, an octopus and eight brains to control eight arms and an extra main brain for other stuff! That’s a total of nine brains which is really excessive when you think about it. To add to this crazy organ-greed is the strange addition of two extra hearts! That means octopuses have nine brains and three hearts each which is just… ridiculous.
5. Octopuses have an interesting dong-arrangement
So octopuses don’t have a special… thing for penis-related tasks. After walking away from the table with nine brains, three hearts and eight arms it’s clear that someone decided they weren’t allowed near the penis-table so their junk was just stapled onto an arm. That’s the equivalent of your pinkie toe being your dong. Stranger yet, some octopuses can actually detach their penis arm and throw it at a particularly eager partner so they can get their bone on while the male octopus does something more important. So yeah, let’s just recap. Octopuses have a penis attached to one of their arms and some octopuses can detach that arm and throw it so they don’t have to stick around during the mating.
6. Octopuses can snap arms off and send them off on quests
So building on the above, not all octopuses are keen to tear their penises off. In fact most don’t want to lose an arm at all. But all octopuses come prepared for those times when they don’t have a choice. You see, combined with that extra brain controlling each arm, the ability to detach and throw a limb can come in useful for an octopus because that limb can keep on doing things all on its own. So imagine you’re an octopus and a weird fish called Greg swims up. You could tear your leg off and throw it at Greg’s face and your leg would keep slapping Greg and put up a fight so you could flee to safety!
Yeah! Take that Greg!
7. Octopuses have respect for the dead
This one’s super sad but octopuses have been known to mourn! One researcher noted that an octopus under observation noticed another octopus in the tank had died near its cave. The alive octopus decided to pick up the dead one and move him far away from his cave mouth. Why? Well some say it’s because it doesn’t want to risk disease. Others say it just doesn’t want dead stuff hanging around its house. Others yet suggest that the octopus may have just been made uncomfortable by the sight of a dead friend and decided to move it out the way. Whatever the actual reason is, it still shows a remarkable amount of thought and intellect.
8. Octopuses can be super-duper poisonous
Awww that lil’ guy is cute right? And he’s colourful too! Colourful things always want to be touched, that’s why they’re so eye-catching, right? Oh wait no that’s not how it works. In reality, if something is bright blue and glowing and nothing has eaten it yet, then it’s probably able to kill you and anything else stupid enough to mess with it. The same goes for this little bugger who has enough neurotoxin in a bite to kill you dead (soooo dead) in minutes. Nor is it the only poisonous octopus either! Funny thing is there are quite a few species of octopus able to call on deadly venom to f*ck you up. If you’re interested though this guy is called the blue-ringed octopus, lives in Australia (seriously, where else?), and is one of the deadliest creatures in all the world! So if you see one, don’t do what the guy in this picture did. Just leave it the hell alone.