perhaps someone can shed some light!

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by katy, Mar 25, 2008.

  1. katy

    katy Larval Mass Registered

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2008
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello,

    I know nothing about the lovely octopus, but I had a very odd experience this last weekend, which I am trying to unravel. I went with my family and friends to a place called Smiths Lakes, on the central coast of NSW, in Australia. There are large shallow bodies of water there, which periodically are subsumed by the sea (I'm sure there's a name for that!) We were walking across the lake (it was about knee-deep) at about three o'clock in the afternoon, when we saw an octopus about the size of a football, swimming around in the shallows and in the open. We went towards it, and it swam away (who can blame it?). Then when three of our party of five went ashore, and two of us remained in the shallow water, the octopus turned up again, and seemed to be really interested in checking us out. He swam in a wide arc away from me and towards my friend, passing within about two feet of him. Then he turned quickly and swam, fast and straight, directly towards me. I quickly hopped out of the water and stood on the edge (who can blame me?). The octopus, without swerving or slowing, continued to advance until he was right on the very very edge of the water, with his head completely out, and one eye looking straight at my face. We stayed there for just the longest weirdest minute, so close that he could have reached his leg out just the tiniest bit and touched my toe, and then he turned and swam away. I've been looking around online, and I can't seem to find any information on this type of behaviour. Perhaps I'm just not looking for the right thing?? It really was such a strange encounter, and I'd love to hear some thoughts from people who might know something about this incredible creature.:sink:
     
  2. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2004
    Messages:
    4,887
    Likes Received:
    11
    :welcome: to TONMO!

    Sounds like a great experience... I've never experienced anything quite like that, but octos can certainly have their curiosity overcome their fear, and usually bigger ones are less shy than smaller ones. Certainly, the videos of divers interacting with large squids seem to follow that sort of pattern, that if the squids decide that the diver is neither threat nor food, they will become curious. Octopuses will sometimes play with divers when they become comfortable, too... I've played tug-of-war with them, but I know others who have tried petting them and found that they're curious and will climb on their hands and so forth. I've never encountered one that large or that proactive, though... with smaller octos, there is some amount of winning their trust. Octos usually seem to have personalities rather like cats... they're both wary of humans and curious about them, so if you don't make sudden or aggressive moves, and they're not too spooked, they can be won over to being friendly or curious.

    In Australia, it's important to be aware that there are blue-ringed octopuses, which are considerably smaller than the one you saw, but which are deadly toxic to humans, so avoiding handling small octopuses in Australia is a good idea, and certainly if they flash blue rings (they can turn the rings visible or invisible as they want, and will typically display them as a warning if they feel threatened). Most octos, including blue rings, will not actively bite people... if it's in the water near you, it's more likely to ink, jet away, hide in a cave, or squirt water at you, but if it's startled while climbing on you or something, it could nip a bit (some species and individuals more than others). I've never been too concerned about that (but I really haven't interacted them as much as I'd like) but I'd be a bit more worried where blue rings are found.

    I don't know much about the octo species around Australia, but from reading a bit, the most common football-sized octo in the NSW area is probably Octopus tetricus, which, like most octos, is not poisonous or otherwise dangerous, but I don't know anything about their "boldness." Norman's Cephalopods: a World Guide says their habitat includes "intertidal rock pools" which fits your description of the location pretty well.
     
  3. katy

    katy Larval Mass Registered

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2008
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you so much, Monty!

    It really was in incredible experience, quite moving... being Australian, the blue-ringed octopus looms largely in my mind, and was the reason i hopped out of the water so fast! Touching him was absolutely the last thing I felt like doing.

    I really appreciate the time you took to give me your thoughts. I'll definitely be looking into it further!
     
  4. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2004
    Messages:
    4,887
    Likes Received:
    11
    Actually, I should also point you at this video dwhatley posted as an example of a friendly human-octo interaction:

    http://www.tonmo.com/community/index.php?threads/8759/#post-114946
     
  5. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    19,076
    Likes Received:
    1,123
    Location:
    Gainesville, GA USA
    Monty,
    I am ass-u-ming the contact is friendly and inquisitive and 'tane continues to show a desire for this kind of interaction and attention (I am a bit concerned about too much touching and creating skin problems) BUT a shark bumps a time or two before deciding to attack. Greg may go a little overboard about not attributing human emotions to our pets but points are well made that our feelings may put a very biased slant on behavior.
     
  6. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2004
    Messages:
    4,887
    Likes Received:
    11
    would you prefer I'd said "nonviolent" instead of "friendly"? It seemed pretty affectionate to me... although I've known cats who had a "purr, purr, rub, CHOMP" sort of attitude, and certainly some octos can be that way... hopefully Octane won't, though.
     
  7. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    19,076
    Likes Received:
    1,123
    Location:
    Gainesville, GA USA
    No, Monty,
    I just wanted to pass on a half-hearted attempt at reminding anyone viewing my exuberant journals that my own interpretations could be misleading. IMO, Octane "enjoys" (sorry Greg) and seeks contact and, in spite of more scientific evaluations, is not interested in taste testing (no sucker - avoidance of sucker - contact). I am not a scientific expert and yet only novice in the ceph world which gives me the freedom to offer my own bias interpretations - AS LONG AS I QUALIFY THEM, state closely what transpires and display (hence the photos and vids) the backup of my observations.:sagrin:
     

Share This Page