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Affection?

amazingsquibbon

Larval Mass
Registered
Joined
Jan 9, 2004
Messages
2
#1
Hey fellows, I've been interested in octopuses for years now, and hope to own one someday. But for now I am content with listening to your fascinating stories.

My question is; do you think octopuses are capable of showing affection? I know they are by nature solitary, and they have nothing in common with humans, but I am curious if anyone here has ever noticed anything resembling affection. Cats and dogs show affection, and octopuses are often considered as smart as them, so why not an octopus?

I know they are often mischievous and clever, but I am very interested in knowing if they can relate to humans as something more than a source of food. Anyone have any stories about their octos?
 

corw314

Colossal Squid
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Nov 20, 2002
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3,748
#2
I think they can. We have seen different ones seek out their owners to interact with them other than for food. I know Nancy's Ollie used to like to be stroked. Spike definitely knows the difference in who's watching him. He reacts differently to new faces.
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
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Sep 4, 2006
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19,796
Location
Gainesville, GA
#3
I don't know about affection, I would say mine (first one, a shy, nocturnal, brooding pygmy) shows more annoyance than affection most of the time but does know the difference in people and can identify me vs my husband or strangers. She may act a bit pissy with me but she is a normal color and will interact a little (possibly telling me to go away). With anyone else she turns the frightened white and pulls as far into her den as she can manage. I have worked with her daily for over two months but she was adult when I got her so, like a lot of other wild animals, it may depend a lot on the age of human exposure.

Be aware, however, the the ability of humans to have strong affection for these little guys, regardless of personality, is VERY strong :octopus:
 

norgebyblood

O. vulgaris
Registered
Joined
Nov 1, 2006
Messages
90
#4
i dont know about affection either, but they can definately id ppl. mine has known me since day 1. when i went in to pay for him 2 days after making him angry while moving him to a better container at the store, he flashed darker towards me, but only when i came up. and he comes out to look at me when i come into class
 

cuttlegirl

Colossal Squid
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Joined
Sep 16, 2005
Messages
4,930
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
#5
Today I went to check on the boys with my four-year-old and Cuddly popped out from the rock he was hiding in and swam over to us. He reminded me of a puppy dog. His eyes were dilating and he was hovering right in front of my daughter. He was clearly excited to see us.

I have been working a lot and I haven't spent as much time in front of the tank as usual. Plus, it is hard for me because I miss Baby A so much. But I have to say, my cuttles recognize me and my daughters and choose to interact with us even without a food reward.
 

sorseress

Colossal Squid
Supporter
Joined
Mar 23, 2005
Messages
3,026
#6
On that note, I've been curious to know if you've seen any evidence that the boys miss Baby A.
 

cthulhu77

TONMO Supporter
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Joined
Mar 15, 2003
Messages
6,642
#7
norgebyblood;89433 said:
i dont know about affection either, but they can definately id ppl. mine has known me since day 1. when i went in to pay for him 2 days after making him angry while moving him to a better container at the store, he flashed darker towards me, but only when i came up. and he comes out to look at me when i come into class
What?
 

joefish84

Sepia elegans
Registered
Joined
Feb 24, 2005
Messages
895
#8
One of my last octopus used to mess up the tank parameterss when I went out of town by clogging the returns... ended up killing him one time.

The octo I have now used to just ignore me more or less until I went out of town for a week. When I got back he started going nuts and climbing out the tank. Now, he lets me rub his mantle and actually comes to the surface for me to do it. I definitely think they show signs of affection.
 

Nancy

Titanites
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Nov 20, 2002
Messages
5,645
Location
Dallas Texas
#10
I know it's hard to interpret what our octo pets do. I, too, had an octopus who liked to be rubbed between the eyes. She'd get in "head-rubbing position" at the waterline when she wanted this, and it was several times a day.

When she was an adult, she came out of her den when she saw me come up to the tank. None of this was food related.

Maybe the funniest thing was when she taught herself to wave. I waved at her when I came up to the tank - a repeated action to let her know I was there to visit. After a while, she began to stick out an arm in my direction and wiggle it when I waved at her. I called in witnesses to verify I wasn't just imagining this! Not exactly affection, but must have been some attempt to communicate.

Nancy
 

OB

Colossal Squid
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Oct 19, 2003
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3,084
#11
Was it a mimic, by any chance? :grin:
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
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Sep 4, 2006
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19,796
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Gainesville, GA
#13
OB,
I have a theory about the "mimic". I am not sure it does anything that other octopuses don't do. Just the short time observing my "simpleton" pygmy, I noticed it emulating (or I had the impression it was) other things. The mercatoris is not known for anything special but I definitely thought it was several other things (one being a large crab and I knew I did not have one of those in the tank!). The emulation under red light was very convincing and I am sure not accidental. In the case of the "crab" the movements were very crab like and enough to make me do a double take. I also saw her repeatedly act and look like a snail and a fish. Had those creatures in the same size been in the tank, I would not have realize it was the octopus. Unfortunately, I don't have a camera that could witness this but I am certain the posturing was deliberate and had nothing to do with the 3:00 AM and 4:00 AM observation :sleeping:

I think the excitement over the mimic's ability may have more to do with its coloration and unique looks, giving it the ability to look more like the creatures it emulates in the daylight to the human eye.
 

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