Den-Decorating Octopus

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The giant Pacific octopus is a fascinating eight-legged sea creature. Most people know that he can camouflage his coloring, release a cloud of black ink, squeeze through tiny spaces and even regrow a lost limb. But here’s a lesser-known fact: both captive and wild octopuses decorate their front yards.

He tracks prey at night and sleeps in a rocky den during the daylight hours. While still a young invertebrae, the Giant Pacific octopus will scavenge the sea for dead creatures, eating up scraps of uneaten meat.

But a mature octopus is a stealth predator, hunting crabs, scallops, shrimp, mollusks and crayfish found deep within the world’s oceans.

After eating his fill, the Giant Pacific octopus decorates his den’s exterior with remnants of meals (like crab skeletons, abalone and mollusk shells). And because the octopus is a master of disguise, divers often track for evidence of this “midden heap” to find the elusive species napping in his hideaway.

Join scientists as they plunge into the underwater jungle, search for midden heap clues and pursue this massive invertebrae. Watch a video preview of The Hunt for the Giant Octopus which airs Thursday June 24 at 8:00 PM ET/PT on Nat Geo WILD! 


  1. MaryCanfield
    June 27, 2010, 6:51 pm


  2. Octopuses decorate their front yards
    May 17, 2013, 2:08 pm

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  3. […] Giant Pacific Octopus has been observed to decorate their dens with objects found lying around the ocean floor or remnants of their meals, such as shells of […]