The Central Coast Aquarium’s newest resident has eight arms, 2,000 suction cups and the intelligence of a 4-year-old.
Joan, a young female giant Pacific octopus, came to the aquarium in Avila Beach after a fisherman accidentally caught it in Morro Bay in October.
According to a news release, the octopus is just under a year old; it’s expected to live at the aquarium for about a year, at which point it’ll be released back to the same location she was found.
Reaching an average of 16 feet and 110 pounds at around 5 years of age, giant Pacific octopus grow bigger and live longer than any other octopus species, according to the aquarium. Their eight arms are covered in more than 2,000 suction cups that taste and smell independently. The species is native to the chilly waters of the Pacific Ocean, from the shallows to a depth of about 330 feet.
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Because it is expected to be released back into the wild, the octopus is being fed live prey to help keep its normal hunting behaviors.
You can see Joan in action on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays or Sundays, during the live octopus talk and feeding. For more information, contact the Central Coast Aquarium at 805-595-7280.
(And in case you were wondering, Joan was named after a donor and supporter of the aquarium.)