Let’s face it—you’re bound to find some strange objects floating around in Puget Sound (remember these mines?). But when it comes to our local inlet’s diverse marine life, none are as mind-boggling as the giant Pacific octopus. With three hearts, blue blood, and up to 200 suckers on each of its eight arms, these sea creatures give off some serious extraterrestrial vibes. NASA conference-goers have even taken interest.
But this weekend, toward the end of Seattle Aquarium’s annual Octopus Week, you can get a first-hand look at this seemingly alien creature. Video and audio feeds will document a team of biologists releasing Hugo, a male octopus that has spent the better part of a year at the aquarium, back into the Sound under Pier 59 on Saturday at noon.
“That's really what Octopus Week is about,” says the aquarium's Tim Kuniholm. “We show our guests how we actually [release the octopus]. We take a camera with us and talk about it.”
Handling the giant Pacific octopus can prove quite the feat. Although their eggs are no bigger than a grain of rice, they are the largest species of octopus found in the world, according to Kuniholm. Some individuals can grow to a whopping 100 pounds over a relatively short lifespan of three to four years.
Other aspects of octopus care include naming each individual alphabetically based on the order in which they arrive, similar to how meteorologists name hurricanes. Staff members have even delved into that heated debate over calling a group of them octopi or octopuses (hint: it’s actually the latter).
Octopuses are on display at the aquarium year-round, but Sunday wraps up the week devoted to our favorite local cephalopod. That won't stop us from eternally replaying this wild aquarium escape video, though.