National Zoo's Elderly Giant Octopus Dies | NBC4 Washington

National Zoo's Elderly Giant Octopus Dies



    Abby Wood, Smithsonian’s National Zoo
    Giant Pacific Octopus Pandora

    Pandora, the Smithsonian's National Zoo's female giant Pacific octopus, died Tuesday. 

    The cephaloapod lived to be about 5 years old, making her the exhibit's longest-lived octopus. 

    The average giant octopus lives about 3 to 5 years, so her cause of death is suspected to be old age. The day before she died, zoo curators noticed Pandora had become lethargic and had lost much of her muscle tone -- a common indication of old age in her species. 

    A final pathology report is expected.

    “She was a terrific ambassador for her species," Tamsen DeWitt, a biologist at the Invertebrate Exhibit, said. "She was curious, charismatic and taught us so much about octopus behavior. We’re happy she had such a long and healthy life.”