October 12 is the last day of International Cephalopod Awareness Days, which is celebrated each year from October 8th through the 12th.
In case you’re wondering, cephalopods are a class of mollusks that include octopuses, squids, cuttlefish, and nautiluses.
The timing of this celebration has nothing to do with the spooky Halloween holiday, although cephalopods have been haunting oceans for millions of years. No, the dates were chosen because cephalopods have either 8 or 10 appendages.
Cephalopod Awareness Days celebrate our curiosity and love of books, movies, and TV shows that feature cephalopod characters. For instance, ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,’ ‘Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea,’ ‘The Little Mermaid,’ ‘SpongeBob Squarepants,’ and the Harry Potter series, to name a few. Video games like Minecraft and Pokémon have cephalopods, too!
For the sake of keeping this post from growing as long as a giant squid’s tentacle, I’ll share with you just a few interesting facts about octopuses:
They’re extremely intelligent and have excellent memories. It’s no wonder they’re so smart since they have nine functioning brains, one behind the eyes and the others in each of its eight arms. They have four pairs of arms, by the way.
Some octopuses have been known to use tools. Watch the 39 second video below. Home sweet home!
They’re so smart, some have been observed opening everything from screw-top jars to the cap on a childproof medicine bottle.
If an octopus gets bored, they’ve been known to eat their arms. Ew! Do you think that’s gross? It might make you feel better to know that they’re able to regrow their limbs.
They have three hearts. (I wonder if they love Valentine’s Day three times as much?)
They have blue blood. (For a tongue twister, try saying “blue blood” three times as fast as you can.)
Octopuses can change colors to blend in with their surroundings and hide from their enemies. It takes less than a second for them to change color. They can also change their texture to disguise themselves. This is a cool 24-second video:
If a predator confronts them, they can squirt dark ink to dull the sense of smell of their attacker, giving the octopus a chance to escape.
They also have venom, but only the blue ringed octopuses’ bite can be deadly to humans.
They don’t have a skeleton, so they’re able to squeeze through small spaces. Their bodies can fit through any cracks that their beaks fit through. This 1:42 minute video shows an octopus slithering through a crack in a boat:
Do you think Harry Houdini would have been impressed by that escape?
The last interesting fact I’d like to share is kind of scary, like something right out of a horror story. Once a male octopus mates, it dies soon after. The females can lay up to 400,000 eggs, which they guard with their lives. When the eggs hatch, the mother’s body quickly deteriorates until she dies. A haunting tale, for sure.
To learn about other cephalopods, here’s one website among many about these amazing creatures.
So what do you think of cephalopods? Do you find them fascinating? What’s your favorite creature, either real or fictional? Can you think of a book or movie that has a cephalopod in it?
If you love fun, creepy stories, my Monster Moon series coauthor, Kathryn Sant, and I have three thrillers you might like. We write under the pen name BBH McChiller.
Book 1 – Curse at Zala Manor (Great read for Halloween):
“This tale will rattle yer timbers, squiffie, and chill ye to the bone!”
It’s almost Halloween, and twelve-year-old AJ Zantony’s world is threatened by an ancient curse that releases wicked pirates who had been trapped for centuries in his Aunt Zsofia’s creepy mansion, Zala Manor.
Book 2 – Secret of Haunted Bog (Fast paced and full of action):
“Beware the bog, landlubbers.
If ye venture into that haunted place,
Yer every step be filled with danger. Yarr!”
Book 3 – Legend of Monster Island (Perfect for Cephalopod Awareness Days):
“Listen, swabbers, to this kraken tale.
Treasure and scoundrels and setting sail.
Sinking ships and a ghostly wail.
Can AJ survive, or will the beast prevail?”
Lynn Kelley worked as a court reporter for 25 years while she and her husband, George, raised their four little rascals, but nowadays she’s a goofball in the highest degree who’s susceptible to laughing jags. She tries to control herself out in public, but it’s not easy. She’ll jump at any excuse to wear funky get-ups. For instance, making wacky YouTube videos, entertaining her grandkids, or hanging out at a costume party.
She recently became a Master Certified Health Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.