Pacific Ocean from southern Baja California to Alaska to Japan/Lives in dens or lairs, under boulders and rock crevices
Size: Up to 30 ft. across • Weight: Avg. of 159 lbs.
The magnificent Giant Pacific Octopus is the largest species of octopus on the planet and have the most complex brain of any invertebrate. The only fact more impressive than having eight arms might be that it has three hearts! Two of its hearts pump blood to the gills, while the third heart circulates blood throughout its body. Talk about a multi-tasking marvel!
Their incredibly agile bodies and remarkable problem-solving skills make this cerebral cephalopod truly captivating. Giant Pacific Octopuses are incredibly flexible, thanks to their suction-cup covered arms and lack of rigid skeleton. They can squeeze through openings as small as their beak, allowing them to explore and navigate tight spaces with ease. In addition to being master contortionists, these clever cephalopods are also skilled trouble-shooters. In laboratory settings, they have been observed opening jars, solving puzzles, and even unscrewing lids to access their food.
Speaking of food, Giant Pacific Octopuses are voracious eaters and skilled hunters. They use their powerful beaks to crack open the shells of their prey, such as crabs and clams, and inject a venomous saliva that helps break down their meal. To sneak up on prey – or hide from being prey – the Giant Pacific Octopus is able to put on a show with a dazzling display of colour-changing magic. These clever creatures can alter their skin pigment and texture to blend seamlessly with their surroundings, making them experts in camouflage.
The Giant Pacific Octopus is truly an eight-armed, three-hearted wonder of the underwater world. Visit the Vancouver Aquarium’s Treasures of The B.C. Coast gallery to observe the mesmerizing Giant Pacific Octopus and appreciate its impressive intelligence, adaptability, and unique beauty.