Tai Shan's Gone, But Hey! New Octopus! - NBC4 Washington

Tai Shan's Gone, But Hey! New Octopus!

What has eight tentacles and is awesome? Just guess!



    Tai Shan's Gone, But Hey! New Octopus!
    Smithsonian National Zoo
    He's waaaatching you.

    Tai Shan may be gone, but new animals keep coming to the zoo, and some of them just happen to look like they came from a sci-fi movie.

    "The giant Pacific octopus is the 'giant panda' of invertebrates -- it may get the most attention, but we can use it to lure visitors into a world of incredible insects, spiders, corals and so much more," said Alan Peters, the Zoo's curator of invertebrates. 

    The zoo's new (currently) little critter weighs only three pounds, but it's expected to grow more than 13 times its current size over the next year.

    Giant Pacific octopuses hatch from eggs only a little larger than a grain of rice, but adults can weigh hundreds of pounds in the wild, according to the zoo.

    The zoo's new octo-buddy is probably male, but at two and a half years old, it's still a bit soon to tell. He (or she) arrived at the end of January and will be named in early March.

    "For an invertebrate, the octopus is very responsive," Peters said.

    Octopuses are able to change their color and texture instantly with a signal from their brains. And who can forget that amazing photo of the octopus with the Rubik's cube?

    You can follow the octopus' growth spurt and enrichment activities on the octopus cam, or by hoofing it down the hill to the Invertibrates' House. 

    And sorry if we sound like gleeful little kids, but, bye folks! We're going to the zoo. Whee!