The Intelligent But Little Known Octopus


Octopi are smart. Now that I know that certain fact, it gives me a whole new way of looking at them. They apparently have very distinct tastes in their choice of friends and if they don’t like you, they will try to poison you, but if they take a liking to you, they will let you pet them. When they are peaceful while being petted, their ruby-colored skin turns white and smooth, meaning they are relaxed.

An agitated giant Pacific octopus turns red, its skin gets pimply, and it erects two papillae over the eyes, which some divers say look like horns. One name for the species is “devil fish.” With sharp, parrotlike beaks, octopuses can bite, and most have neurotoxic, flesh-dissolving venom. The pressure from an octopus’s suckers can tear flesh (one scientist calculated that to break the hold of the suckers of the much smaller common octopus would require a quarter ton of force).

Friendly Octopi will jump out of the water with arms outstretched to greet a human friend.

Octopi do not like being captured. They escape with amazing frequency. Some will pretend they are letting you remove them from their tanks, but they use the net as a trampoline, jump off and make a run for it. They seem to be the Houdini of animals, escaping from almost any enclosure. In Aquariums, they have been discovered on carpets, along bookshelves, in a teapot, and inside the aquarium tanks of other fish—upon whom they have usually been dining.

Like 95% of all animals, the Octopus is an invertebrate. They have neurons on their arms as well as their brains, and neurons are one way to judge intelligence. Assumedly then, some of their intelligence is in their arms, which is why a severed Octopus arm will crawl away, reach for food and try to eat it.

They change their color and shape to fit in with their environment. They are intelligent aliens of the sea. Some Octopi, such as Cephalopods have gene sequences the equivalent of retinas in their skin and may be able to see with their skin.

They play, in fact they need to play, which is something only intelligent animals can do. At one Aquarium, an Octopus used a pill bottle as a ball, bouncing it over-and-over with funnels of air. Cincinnati’s Aquarium, in an effort to keep them entertained puts food in a ball that can be unscrewed. The Octopi unscrew the ball, eat the prey and then screw it back to play with it.

They can do puzzles and open and close latched boxes with alacrity during experiments, and they learn quickly, never to forget.

The eyes of an Octopus are very similar to ours and may have evolved along similar paths though our intelligence appears to have run a different course. Unfortunately, giant Octopi only live a few years.

We don’t know much about Octopi, but they are an animal worthy of attention. Read more here: Orion

Octopus walking out of his watery home to greet visitors