Shore Buddies Wisdom Wednesday
Photo by Steve Peletz
Octopuses are highly intelligent animals, masters of camouflage that have evolved an array of tricks over tens of millions of years to avoid or thwart would-be attackers. They can match the colors and even textures of their surroundings, allowing them to hide in plain sight. If a predator gets too close octopuses can escape quickly, shooting themselves forward by expelling water from a muscular tube called a siphon. Octopuses can also release a cloud of black ink, which obscures them and dulls an encroacher’s sense of smell. Their soft bodies mean octopuses can fit into impossibly small nooks and crannies, as long as the holes are not smaller than the only hard parts of their bodies: their beaks. If all else fails, octopuses can lose an arm to an attacker and regrow one later. The octopus’s arms are lined with hundreds of suckers, each of which can be moved independently thanks to a complex bundle of neurons that acts as a brain, letting the animal touch, smell, and manipulate objects. Solitary animals, they typically live alone, sometimes in dens they build from rocks, sometimes in shells they pull over on top of themselves. Some even make a door for themselves—a rock pulled into place once they’re safely tucked into their homes.