This is pretty interesting, but to me...one of the biggest highlights of my life.
The Adventure Aquarium in NJ which im sure you guys seen me mention a lot is the Camden/New Jersey state aquarium, but now a lot better with a 53 million dollar addition last year in May. You guys saw some pictures I scanned in of their GPO last year in August...and I was really curious to see how it was this year. Before, it was about 2 ft. arm length with a 4 ft. total span...but when I visited 2 days ago on Thursday, it definately grew since the last time and is nearing the end of its life. Now its 6 ft. long with arms that are 3-4 ft. when totally stretched.
Before going, I contacted the aquarium 2 weeks prior and then a week prior comfirming my visit for behind the scenes. Going being the scenes isn't advertised or shown as a program or activity anywere by the aquarium...I just got extrememly lucky and spoke to the biologists assistant who told me I could go to information when I arrive and ask for someone if their available.
When I went, the girl I spoke with on the phone was available and came down quickly with a pack of food in her hands. I thought it was squid, but it was actually 3 sardines. She told me the GPO their wont touch Squid for some reason. She took me behind the scenes behind the exhibit and showed me a smaller tank that holded the smaller GPO...male, which was shipped their as a back-up octopus when the female dies. Its about 4 pounds, but wasnt seen when I went because it was hiding the whole time. After that, I climbed the ladder and sat on top of the exhibit were she opened a little door were the octopus was right under. It went directly to the top waiting for us, and I immediatly grabbed one of its arms and it felt amazing. She gave it a sardine which it didnt eat...and she explained it wasnt hungry at that moment so it wasn't using any suction pressure at all when I sent time with it. The suckers were huge, about 3 inches wide at the base of the arms. I rubbed my hands over the suckers and they felt like lilly pads, lol...not sucking at all and continuesly drifting down, then coming back up to us in total enthusiasm.
Kinda proves that octopuses don't just enjoy you because of food...or food given. This GPO obviously gave affection to being petted and a few times...expanded its 8 arms completely so we could feel it's undersides w/ suction cups all over. My mom was behind me, lol...but afraid it was going to jump out and grab her head. It was very cute though to be honest...and pretty funny because I'd give it a sardine and it would hold it near its mouth for 5 minutes. Then it would flip over and the sardine wouldn't even be eaten, but just dropped. Biologist said it was kinda being stubbern, but just playing with us. The octopus had toys to play with as well which arent kept in the tank during exhibit hours...it had this toy with holes cut in it meant for a 3 yr old. She also had a Mr. Potato head with removable body parts, lol. It was definately the best experience iv ever had...and was very nervous that i'd only get to stay their for about 3 minutes, but we stayed with the octopus for about 25 minutes.
Afterwords, we had a full 4 hours until the aquarium closed so I stayed near the octopus' tank for a while and just staired in its eyes till I left. Im so glad I got to be with her before dying. The biolgist told me it would sometimes turn white and do the cork-screw tentacles...but then a week later, seem perfectly healthy. So it seems to be in a confusing states.