Lost arms

DaveDutka

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Hello! I'm new to the site and unfortunately have to start off with some bad news. I came home from work yesterday to find my juvenile striped octopus, Oscar, had lost two arms. The only explanation is that a fiddler crab I introduced as food for Oscar got more aggressive than I'd ever seen him and attacked the octopus while Oscar was sleeping (he seems to like sleeping on the bottom of the tank, unlike my last striped who hid under a rock or slept stuck to the side of the tank out of reach). Anyway, the crab has been dealt with, but my question is how long will it take for the arms to regenerate and is there anything special I should do while he heals? I feel terrible about my miscalculation regarding that evil crab, Oscar doesn't seem to be able to swim and spends most of the time under a rock out of sight. Thanks, any advice you could give would be greatly appreciated!
 

tonmo

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Welcome to TONMO and sorry about this encounter. Two arms is a heavy blow but I do believe we’ve had experiences here on the site with successful grow-back. I expect you’ll get some resident expert thoughts soon, in the meantime do try our search function for any past conversations (16+ years’ worth)
 

DaveDutka

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Welcome to TONMO and sorry about this encounter. Two arms is a heavy blow but I do believe we’ve had experiences here on the site with successful grow-back. I expect you’ll get some resident expert thoughts soon, in the meantime do try our search function for any past conversations (16+ years’ worth)
Thanks, Tony!
 

DWhatley

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Missing arms would not affect its ability to swim or crawl. It is not unusual for octopuses to loose parts of arms (or detach a large segment) in the wild as it pokes into rockwork looking for food but be sure you don't have some other potential danger like an impeller that can be reached. I always disable the large claws on the male fiddler crabs to avoid puncture wounds (and potential infection) but I am not sure they can cut off an arm.

If your avatar is the same species (Wunderpus photogenicus), you may be in for a short run with the animal as very few do well in captivity. The arm truncation may be from stress. Watch carefully for more arms being lost and be sure it has plenty of dark hiding places.

Arm regrowth time depends a lot on the age and health of the octo. In very young animals, full regrowth can be as short as a couple of weeks. Adults may take more than a month and the new growth may never fully grow to match the other arms in girth.

To observe new growth watch for a thin string sprouting from the damaged tip.
 

DaveDutka

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Missing arms would not affect its ability to swim or crawl. It is not unusual for octopuses to loose parts of arms (or detach a large segment) in the wild as it pokes into rockwork looking for food but be sure you don't have some other potential danger like an impeller that can be reached. I always disable the large claws on the male fiddler crabs to avoid puncture wounds (and potential infection) but I am not sure they can cut off an arm.

If your avatar is the same species (Wunderpus photogenicus), you may be in for a short run with the animal as very few do well in captivity. The arm truncation may be from stress. Watch carefully for more arms being lost and be sure it has plenty of dark hiding places.

Arm regrowth time depends a lot on the age and health of the octo. In very young animals, full regrowth can be as short as a couple of weeks. Adults may take more than a month and the new growth may never fully grow to match the other arms in girth.

To observe new growth watch for a thin string sprouting from the damaged tip.
Missing arms would not affect its ability to swim or crawl. It is not unusual for octopuses to loose parts of arms (or detach a large segment) in the wild as it pokes into rockwork looking for food but be sure you don't have some other potential danger like an impeller that can be reached. I always disable the large claws on the male fiddler crabs to avoid puncture wounds (and potential infection) but I am not sure they can cut off an arm.

If your avatar is the same species (Wunderpus photogenicus), you may be in for a short run with the animal as very few do well in captivity. The arm truncation may be from stress. Watch carefully for more arms being lost and be sure it has plenty of dark hiding places.

Arm regrowth time depends a lot on the age and health of the octo. In very young animals, full regrowth can be as short as a couple of weeks. Adults may take more than a month and the new growth may never fully grow to match the other arms in girth.

To observe new growth watch for a thin string sprouting from the damaged tip.[/QUOTE

Thank you for the wise words, unfortunately the Wunderpus didn't make it. This was my first attempt at keeping an octopus, I should have started with something easier, or at least more adaptable to living in captivity. I did a TON of research, fastidiously monitored the water, tried to do everything right, but I'm afraid I may have gotten in over my head anyway. Do you have any suggestions for another species, something that would do better in captivity? I know the Bimac is very popular and easier to keep, I'm thinking of something... how should I say it delicately, maybe more aesthetically pleasing. I'm totally hooked, octopuses are the most fascinating, fun animals to have as pets, I just want to make sure I'm a responsible "octo-dad." Thanks again, I appreciate your help.
 

DaveDutka

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Thank you for the wise words, unfortunately the Wunderpus didn't make it. This was my first attempt at keeping an octopus, I should have started with something easier, or at least more adaptable to living in captivity. I did a TON of research, fastidiously monitored the water, tried to do everything right, but I'm afraid I may have gotten in over my head anyway. Do you have any suggestions for another species, something that would do better in captivity? I know the Bimac is very popular and easier to keep, I'm thinking of something... how should I say it delicately, maybe more aesthetically pleasing. I'm totally hooked, octopuses are the most fascinating, fun animals to have as pets, I just want to make sure I'm a responsible "octo-dad." Thanks again, I appreciate your help.
 

tonmo

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Sorry for your loss. We appreciate your commitment to being a responsible octo-dad!

Bimacs are beautiful! I can't imagine them having any aesthetic limitations :smile:..... but, I'm not sure how available they are these days. Haven't heard much lately about what species are more prevalent but others will know.
 

DWhatley

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It is very hard to source octos but persistence pays off.
Bimacs really need chilled water, something in the low to mid sixties (but can survive with a shorter lifespan in the low 70's) and are almost impossible to source unless you or a friend can collect your own, selling them live is illegal if they are caught in CA, their most common habitat.
I would recommend a Caribbean warm water species over those found in colder water. They have shorter lifespans but are easier to keep. If you are lucky enough to encounter an O. briareus (@sedna 's current ward), O. hummelincki (my current resident and from the same collector) either of these would be a good choice for generally hardy animals that do well in low to mid 70's water. O. vulgaris is also a nice, hardy animal but needs a larger tank and is almost impossible to find (but is very common. None of these are endangered.

Most octopuses you will find online and in pet stores are imported from the Philippines and have already had a bit of a rough time before getting to their final home. Abdopus aculeatus is the most desireable of these but is often already an adult. Live Aquaria has them from time to time and is often the animal purchased from wholesalers.
 

DaveDutka

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Thanks for the advice, I had no idea bimacs were illegal to buy if collected in CA. I have an "octopus guy" (Steve Mills from Aquatic Interior Sea Cave in Copley, OH) who told me the same thing, Caribbean octopuses might be a good option. I'm going to wait a month or so, then see what Steve can do for me. I'll keep you posted!
 

DWhatley

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Assuming Steve is a retailer, his supply will likely be from an Indonesian importer. Avoid the "striped" (for multiple ecological reasons but the likelihood of survival is very low). One marked common brown or bali MAY be an aculeatus and is generally a good import choice. If he has something available and you can get photos in advance of purchasing, feel free to post for a possible id.
 

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