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Common Octopus Facts

Size 12-35 inch (30-90 cm)
Speed Unknown
Weight 6.6-22 lb (3-10 kg)
Lifespan 2-3 years
Food Crabs, mussels, fish
Predators Eels, sharks, dolphins
Habitat Mediterranean Sea, warmer oceans in general
Order Octopoda
Genus Octopus
Scientific name Octopus vulgaris
Characteristics Usually eight tentacles with suction cups on them

Main Characteristics

Most people use the term octopus when talking about cephalopoda. Yet, the family of cephalopoda is much more divers and also includes animals such as the squid or the sepia.


Where Does the Term “Octopus” Come From?

„Octo“ is a Greek word which stands for the number eight. “Pous” indicates the foot. Thus, the word “octopus” means eight-footed. The number of tentacles is the easiest method to distinguish the octopus from other species of the family of cephalopoda. It has eight tentacles, others have ten.

Common Octopus Common Octopus - Photo: JonMilnes/Shutterstock


Senses and Abilities

Octopuses Can't Sense Where Their Tentacles Are

We use "The left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing." as a phrase. But it applies literally to the octopus. From its brain the octopus sends a kind of supreme command to its tentacles to move. They move autonomously then and do not provide the octopus with any feedback if its command has been executed. The octopus can only find out if everything is ok by looking at its tentacles.


Octopuses Like to Play

Octopuses like to play games. Apart from primates and ravens, only a few other animals do this. Octopuses have often been watched releasing bottles or toys in a water current, catching them again, releasing them, catching ...

Common Octopus Common Octopus - Photo: feathercollector/Shutterstock


Are Octopuses Intelligent?

Octopuses are very intelligent. They open the screw-caps of cans without having watched someone do this beforehand. They also easily find their way through labyrinths.

Anatomy and Appearance

Octopuses Have Three Hearts

The octopus has got three hearts. Two of them pump blood through its gills and the third pumps blood through the body.


Deep-Sea Octopuses Have Huge Eyes

In the deep ocean there are octopus species that have eyes measuring more than 16 inch (40 cm) in diameter. What do they need them for anyway in the utter darkness?

Common Octopus Common Octopus - Photo: Allexxandar/Shutterstock

Life Expectancy

How Long Do Octopuses Live?

Octopuses only live two to three years.


Female octopuses lay 120,000-400,000 eggs in shallow waters, mostly in crevices and caves.

Animals in the Same Biome:

Common Octopus Common Octopus - Photo: JonMilnes/Shutterstock

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