Sunday, July 18, 2010


I fell in love with an octopus this week.  Her name is Octavia.   She lives in the aquarium at the Wetland's Institute, a not-for-profit organization promoting appreciation of wetlands and the coastal environment.  I've been thinking about her ever since I met her yesterday. 

We learned from her caretaker that she has the intelligence of a domesticated house cat.  I have to say,  there was a playfulness, curiousness, flirtatiousness and shyness about her and her intelligence and personality showed through her eyes and came through in the way she interacted with Josh and me.  We had some quiet moments with her all to ourselves when we went back to see her again after kids and families moved on from the aquarium to outdoor activities.  She really liked Josh and appeared to flirt with him, blush and change color, as he talked with her through the glass.  She came right up to the glass and after a moment or two of reaching her tentacles to us she would coyly retreat to her little den behind some rocks.  She peeked at us with her lively eyes from behind the rocks and a moment later would come right back out and start the dance all over.

My feelings for Octavia are mixed with sadness.  Sadness that such and intelligent and lively creature has to spend her short life in a glass aquarium.  We were told that octopuses only live to be about 2 years old.  Maybe she enjoys her time interacting with the public?  She seemed to know and like her caretaker.  Maybe it's ok that she can safely live in a space where she is fed and protected?  It's always hard for me to visit animals in captivity.  Especially when the animal seems so aware of itself, the space and things around it.  I hope she, as a force to be reckoned with,  provides an opportunity for awareness to build around the connection we have to the oceans and wetlands.  Perhaps she instigates thoughts and discussions about how we as humans can better care for and respect her environment?


  1. Awwww, she is so sweet! I'm glad you guys are having a fun time on vacation. Nice shirt, Josh ;)

  2. Honestly, this is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen! Octavia is compelling with her bright eyes and obvious awareness of others.

    Beautiful photographs!

    I too, hope seeing her motivates others to be more caring and supportive animal rights.

    It is hard to see animals in captivity unless they are physically unable to care for themselves.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

    Perhaps you can paint Octavia? Your attachment to her would help you do her justice. Just a thought.

  3. I think a glass tank would fit perfectly in your house...there's got to be an "adopt-an-octopus" program out there somewhere ;) call when you get back--it's been too long!

  4. Thanks for all your thoughts about Octavia the Octopus.

    Hi Melanie, she is sweet.

    Wild Magnolia, thanks for joining my blog and thanks for your thoughtful comment. Welcome! I was thinking it would be cool to start sketching her and see where it leads. I'll post something when I get around to it.

    Steph! Nice to see you here too. I will contact you soon.

  5. :)

    Hey Kim,

    ask Octavia some questions, who knows, maybe not only Paul can predict lottery :))

    I can't wait to see you and Josh!


  6. Razvan! You are right...I should ask her some important questions. I can't wait to see you and Eleana and meet your little guy. Only a couple of weeks now....