Meet Sanibel’s newest resident: A Giant Pacific octopus

Reporter: Stephanie Byrne Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
Sanibel’s newest resident (WINK News)

The island of Sanibel is known for its shells and beaches but soon, it may be known for its newest resident β€” an octopus.

He really likes his toys. “We give him Mega Blocks, Lego sets, Mr. Potato Heads, lots of things,” said Carly Hulse, Senior Aquarist at Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum.

Hulse says when they got him, he was pretty tiny.

“He came to us in February and he weighed about just a little under two pounds, and with this species, as long as he eats 5% of his body weight a week, he will double in size every 70 days,” she said.

The Giant Pacific octopus now resides at the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum on Sanibel Island and this one is pretty cool.

“These animals are very fascinating because they have nine brains, three hearts and blue blood,” Hulse said.

They also have some interesting talents.

“They have the amazing ability to camouflage and change the color of their skin as well as the texture of their skin, but they are color blind,” Hulse explained.

Not to mention he’s an excellent escape artist; so much so that the museum had to line his exhibit with something he couldn’t grip onto and get away.

“We do have his entire exhibit all blocked off with AstroTurf because, as silly as that sounds, he’s unable to grip onto that,” Hulse joked.

To top it all off, he’s pretty strong.

“When he’s fully-grown, he can lift 30 pounds with one suction cup, so he’s got about 2,000 of them,” she said.

The staff usually keep him engaged but he definitely loves getting to know people and kids and adults alike are fascinated by him.

If you’d like to meet him for yourself, the museum will begin offering visits beginning on Aug. 15.

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