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Change in Octopus Behavior - any help would be great!

Chelsea

Larval Mass
Registered
Joined
Aug 2, 2009
Messages
3
#1
Hi There,

I'm new here and joined up when researching my problem with my Octopus.

I work as an Aquarist in a public aquarium and look after a Giant Pacific Octopus, she used to be very active in her tank and responsive to her keepers, always came over to us when we were working around her tank and at feeding time. However for the past couple of months she isn't active at all and always stays in the same cornor of her tank and never comes out, when we are trying to get her attention she sometimes sticks a tenticle out so we can give her food but then goes straight back to her cornor.

Does anyone have any idea what could be the problem or any idea what I could do to? I am currently making new enrichment toys to see if she gets interested in hope that she will explore her tank again.

Any help would be great.

Thanks. :smile:
 

Neogonodactylus

Haliphron Atlanticus
Staff member
Moderator
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Mar 17, 2003
Messages
662
#2
Sounds like she is getting broody. Females approaching egg laying usually spend more and more time around their den.

Roy
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
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Moderator
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Sep 4, 2006
Messages
19,806
Location
Gainesville, GA
#5
Doing a brief search for brood times I found this:

Enteroctopus dofleini live 3-5 years. When mature, females lay eggs on the inner side of a rocky den and may lay 20,000 to 100,000 eggs over a period of several days. Eggs are tended, cleaned and aerated by females until they hatch. Incubation takes 150 days to seven or more months, depending on the temperature. Females do not feed while tending eggs and die when the eggs hatch or shortly thereafter. Many of the eggs will die if not tended by the female until hatching.
Can you get a good look in the den? It would be my guess that if she has show this behavior for several months that she has already laid eggs and is brooding them (viable or not). Unfortunately, she is a small egg species so there is no chance of raising any of the 20,000 + hatchlings even if the eggs are fertile.
 

Chelsea

Larval Mass
Registered
Joined
Aug 2, 2009
Messages
3
#7
Thanks for your quick help!

Egg laying has been going through my mind, but I guess I was hoping it might be something else, but it is part of their natural behavior, you just get attached to these animals!

She have chosen the cornor the further away from our access area to the tank so I think I will have to remove her lid to get a better view. She is still feeding though.

Thank you for your help!!!
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
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Moderator
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Sep 4, 2006
Messages
19,806
Location
Gainesville, GA
#8
I've only delt with the smaller octos and have found (as has been reported in older threads) that if you can get them to eat, the females will live a little longer but not considerably. Beldar (small macropus complex) lived for only a week (she brooded for two weeks and ate during part of that time). Trapper (dwarf, mercatoris) lived 11 more weeks (brooded for 10) and ate most of the time and continued to eat Cyclop-eeze until she died. Other merc's have died with in a day of the last egg hatching (Bel's eggs were not viable, Trapper had only six young).

The theory that they stave to death does not make a lot of sense to me, especially for the small egg species that brood for two weeks or less (not the case with the long brooding period of the GPO). I fully believe (totally non-scientific observation) that something else shuts down and not eating or eating very little or very small things is the result of some other change(s).

If you have the time, would you consider starting a journal on the GPO? We have not had a keeper record time with one and it would be great to have your notes on the forum. A recap of her history at the aquarium would be fantastic but even if you record from this point, the brooding history would be helpful for the next keeper (including yourself if you get another female).
 

Chelsea

Larval Mass
Registered
Joined
Aug 2, 2009
Messages
3
#9
Yeah I can try my best to observe, (I do have lots of animals to look after, so time is limited) but between all the keepers we do try to keep a brief diary on her. I will look over the diary again to get the right time periods and will post again to let you know what she does.

As of now she is still feeding quite well, but will keep you updated. Thankyou for your help so far!
 

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