• TONMOCON VII Announced | MBL at Woods Hole | Apr 6-8, 2018
  • Thanks for visiting! TONMO is the world's greatest online cephalopod enthusiast community, with interactive content going back to May of 2000, and a biennial conference. If you'd like to join in on the fun, become a TONMO member -- it's easy and free. You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more cephy goodness.

Octo bites


Jan 4, 2006
I had a bimac octo a long time ago (15 years) and didn't really give him a chance to bite. I am now almost ready to get my O.Vulgaris and wondering how much I should watch out for bites. I have seen the movie where a members daughter gets bitten (with much laughter) and seen Righty's photo with a good size one on his head. I would imagine a 3 foot octo could take out a nice chunk as a parrot would.

What is the consensus on hand feeding, and hand-on tank maintenance?

I would love to setup a feeding station platform like Shamu has where he comes up to be fed like in the "Squirt" video.

I welcome stories and experiences with octos -especially Vulgaris!


Staff member
Nov 20, 2002
Dallas Texas
Well, there are different theories. A vulgaris is not a defensive biter. Most likely it will get to know you, and the danger of being bitten is when it's young and might think your hand is something to eat. You can control this by not letting it float down on your hand. Most octo bites (at least from the octopuses we keep as pets) are more like a sting, not huge chunks torn out of your hand. Usually a vulgaris is friendly and you could certainly tell whether it was.

I really recommend using a feeding stick - it's helped me many times and made it possible to offer food to my bimac (with eggs) in her den. She accepted the food.

You can play with your octo's arms, offer toys, and find other ways to make contact. I recently watched someone play with a young GPO by grabbing and wiggling its arms. It seemed to like the attentiion. My bimac liked to be rubbed gently between the eyes. And the owner of Octopets reported that bimacs liked to be petted. So, you may work out one way or another to have physical contact if you like.

Tonmo members have kept O. vulgaris before - you might search on the species name.


Members online