Interesting Facts About An Octopus
These interesting facts about an octopus and free printable will surprise kids as they learn more about these delicate creatures of the water.
The octopus (or Octopoda) is a cephalopods and one of the most unusual sea animals in the ocean. Kids find these tentacled creatures fascinating and for good reason. As we learn more about these 8 armed creatures of the sea, we wanted to share some interesting facts we learned. We’ve also made a fun facts about an octopus worksheet to go along with them.
Facts About An Octopus for Kids to Learn
1. They are highly intelligent.
Octopuses are highly intelligent and have a complex nervous system. Their brains are large and complex. Yes we said brains.. they have more than one! They actually have 9 brains!
Together, these brains give them great problem solving skills and excellent long term memory. The 9 brains are made up of one central brain and 8 mini brains that control each one of their arms.
They are so smart that they can use their arms to unscrew containers to get their food or other objects out of them. Studies have also shown that an octopus learns pretty quickly and can learn by watching other octopuses and through trial and error.
2. They are solitary creatures.
Most of the time you will find an octopus traveling and hanging out alone. They do not live in groups or schools. They use their powerful arms to build their own dens out of rocks.
When you do happen to see them traveling with others, or near others, the plural form is octopuses.
3. An Octopus has 3 hearts.
Unlike us humans, an Octopus has 3 hearts that work together to move blood and keep their circulation going.
Fun fact: Their hearts stop beating when an octopus swims which is why they get exhausted so fast. This is why you will often find them walking along the floor of the ocean rather than swimming.
4. Octopuses have blue blood.
Due to the copper in their body, the blood of an octopus is actually blue. As humans, we have iron-based hemoglobin that makes our blood red. An octopus has copper based hemocyanin which is more efficient for transporting oxygen and turns the blood blue. They also have a high metabolic rate which means they have a higher demand for oxygen.
5. They can change colors.
To blend in and disguise themselves from predators, octopuses can change their color, brightness, pattern, shape, and texture. This allows them to blend in with their surroundings, communicate with other octopuses, and can be used to intimidate their predators.
6. They squirt ink to protect themselves.
Octopuses can move quickly through the water by using a jet propulsion system, where they expel water from their mantle cavity. The ink sacks they have produce melanin that contains tyrosinase which will temporarily paralyze their predators smell and taste and burn their eyes. While the predator is disoriented, the octopus is able to maneuver and get away quickly.
7. An octopus has 8 arms with suctions cups.
If you look at an octopus you will notice that they have 8 arms that are lined with suction cups on the bottom. These suction cups allow them to get around, manipulate objects, and more.
The suction cups are have chemical sensors that allow them to feel, taste, and smell. This allows them to multitask. For instance, as they are hunting for food, the octopus can use it’s arms to test the water, open food, get into coral crevices, and move around.
8. They have a beak like jaw.
When they attack their prey, octopuses will use their beak like jaw that has quite the force. They also release a venomous saliva that is used to kill the prey.
To catch their food, they will drop down on their prey from above and use their suction cups to pull their food into their mouth.
9. Octopuses can regrow their arms.
It’s true! Another amazing fact about octopuses is that if they lose an arm, they can regrow it without any permanent damage. Sometimes, this is helpful for when they get stuck or need to get away from their predators.
10. They don’t live long after mating.
Male octopuses die just a few months after mating. Female octopuses fast to protect their eggs. Because they do this, the female octopus dies of starvation just before the eggs hatch.
More Octopus Facts for Kids
- There are 300 species of octopus
- You will find an octopus in every ocean of the world, even the coldest of waters.
- They are meat eaters. some of their favorite food includes snails, crab, clams, shrimp, and mussels
- Studies show that all octopuses are venomous but not all are harmful for humans. Australia’s tiny blue-ringed octopus is extremally harmful. One bite can kill an adult human in minutes.
- Large fish, seals, and whales are the biggest threats to an octopus
Free Printable Octopus Activity Sheets
To go along with your octopus learning activities, print these fun fact sheets. Kids can use the information from above, and on the worksheet to complete the questions.
Download the Octopus Facts Worksheet
Check out these other fun octopus activities:
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