My play date with Toledo Zoo's GOP!! | The Octopus News Magazine Online
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My play date with Toledo Zoo's GOP!!

sedna

Larger Pacific Striped Octopus
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Livonia, MI
#1
I met the curator of the Toledo Zoo's aquarium, Jay Hemdal, several years ago at our yearly MI convention. Today my daughters and I got a "behind the scenes" tour of his facility (wearing our TONMO t-shirts, of course). He was not able to be there, but arranged for his staff to not only give us tour, but also to PLAY with their newly acquired GPO!!! The facility is in a building that dates to 1930, but that is the only thing "old school" about it. It was great to see all the displays from the top side, they really do a great job.

As I am currently without an octo (HELP, I'm going through withdraw- I can't find one anywhere) of course my favorite part was the GPO. They just recently got a new male, Jay said about 2 pounds. He is still shy, but he was happy to come up and grab onto our fingers. He didn't mind the flash of the camera, either. I would have liked to see a more interesting environment for him, as the rest of their displays are so nice, but he really wasn't "in" to his Mr. Potato Head, anyway. My girls were quick to explain all the ways we interact at home, and I can see that his regular "wrangler" must interact regularly because he was ready to touch us and grab on to our arms immediately.

For any of you that might be passing through Toledo, the zoo as a whole is a beautiful park, the animals well cared for, and well worth the stop. The aquarium itself is a gorgeous facility- hats off to Jay and his staff!

SIDE NOTE: They do euthanize their octos when they become autophagic. They just don't think it's humane to allow the animals to suffer and slowly (possibly painfully) waste away. I know this has been a topic of conversation on our site, so I'm just sharing one school of thought.
 

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DWhatley

Cthulhu
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#2
:mrgreen: You would have had to drag me back to reality if I had the opportunity to play with a GPO.
 

sedna

Larger Pacific Striped Octopus
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Livonia, MI
#3
I know, my girls are pretty jaded! Although, it was a great opportunity to show them that being a nerd pays off sometimes! It was so cool to hear them drop species names and explain how to tame a "home" octo! They appreciated that they got taken seriously for having spent time learning about them from mom. It's a day we'll all remember for a long time.
 

tonmo

Titanites
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#5
Very cool sedna - thanks for sharing your experience with us! And x2 for wearing the TONMO.com t-shirt :mrgreen:
 

Jean

Colossal Squid
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Nov 19, 2002
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Dunedin, New Zealand
#6
Sedna, looks like you all had a ball! We euthanise as well if they get autophagy.

Darth Kraken, neither of us are euthanising with old age, autophagy is a nasty, highly contagious disease, which sees the octopus bite off and eat it's own arms. There is no known cure. Jury is still out as to what causes it, but it may be a prion (like mad cow disease) exacerbated by stress (although not always).

We try very hard to release our octopus before they reach senescence.
 

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