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Milwaukee County Zoo Welcomes
Giant Pacific Octopus


Posted October 2018

The Milwaukee County Zoo welcomes seven-armed female giant Pacific octopus to the Aquatic and Reptile Center! Octopus are able to regenerate arms quite easily, usually within six weeks.

Egg McMuffin is about 1 year old and joins the Zoo from an area off the coast of British Columbia. The average giant Pacific octopus is 16 feet long and weighs 110 pounds. The largest giant Pacific octopus recorded was 30 feet long and 600 pounds! On average, giant Pacific octopus gain one-to-two percent of their body weight every day. That would be equal to a human gaining two-to-four pounds every day!

OctopusGiant Pacific octopus are invertebrates, which means they do not have a backbone. In fact, giant Pacific octopus have no bones at all! These octopus are reddish-brown, but can camouflage to mimic rocks and coral, which allows them to hide from predators. They also have a beak, similar to a parrot, which helps them find spaces they can fit into. If the beak fits, they fit.

Giant Pacific octopus feast on shrimp, clams, lobster and fish. These octopus live in the Pacific Ocean from California to Alaska, as well as the Aleutian Islands and Japan. They are the largest and longest living octopus, living three-to-five years and dying shortly after breeding season. This process, or last stage of an octopus’ life cycle, is known as senescence, which is a dementia-like state of being. Environmental factors also play a role in the lifespan of the giant Pacific octopus. They are sensitive to environmental conditions and often suffer from the high pollution levels in the oceans.

Known as highly intelligent, the giant Pacific octopus has been seen mimicking other octopus. They have also learned to open jars and solve mazes. Here at the Zoo, Egg McMuffin is offered a variety of enrichment puzzles ranging from food sealed in a jar to PVC puzzles.

Propel in to the Aquatic and Reptile Center to see the Zoo’s newest resident, Egg McMuffin! Look for her hiding between the rocks and see if you can spot her changing colors!

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