The Skinny on Giant Pacific Octopus

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The Basics

Giant Pacific octopus: Enteroctopus dolfleini Order: Octopoda Family: Octopodidae Life span averages three to six years.

Identification— Naturally reddish brown skin with bulbous eyes. Weights average about 90 pounds with an arm span reaching as much as 20 feet. The largest giant octopus on record weighed 600 pounds.

Habitat —They live solitary lives in rocky habitat and intertidal zones, and down to depths of over 6,000 feet. A 50-pound octopus can squeeze through a 2-inch space, hiding from predators by occupying nooks and crannies.

Diet— Carnivores, giant octopus prefer shellfish, including crabs, clams, abalone, shrimp and certain fish.

Special Features— Masters of disguise, these octopuses instantly change the color and texture of their appearance to mimic their surroundings. The only hard part of their body is their venomous parrot-like beak, through which they eat and squirt ink into the water that blinds other sea creatures.