By: Kari Milroy, Biologist – Fish & Invertebrates
I would like to introduce you to my new buddy Randolph. Randolph has 8 arms equipped with suction cups, enjoys living alone, squirts ink, and can taste with his arms. Sort of sounds like a superhero right? Although you’re unlikely to see Randolph fighting crime, you can see this Giant Pacific octopus, along with a host of other unique creatures, in the Jules Verne Gallery at Adventure Aquarium.
Octopuses come with an assortment of personality types. Some can be mischievous, relaxed, irritable, gentle, and silly. As one of our newest additions to the Aquarium, Randolph is still getting used to his surroundings and is still a bit shy.
However, when food is involved, he becomes very excited, changing a vast array of different colors. Octopuses are considered to be the most intelligent of all invertebrates. Because of this, Randolph needs a constant source of enrichment to keep his day interesting.
As an octopus caretaker, I take pleasure in coming up with new and interesting ways to keep my boy happy, healthy, and entertained. Examples of octopus enrichment include introduction of various foods, meeting new people, and presenting his food in different ways. Randolph gets an assortment of goodies three times a week, including capelin, shrimp, herring, squid, and mackerel. However, he gets especially giddy for blue crab. When presenting enrichment, food is typically placed inside a container in which Randolph must open to grab his dinner. Examples of this are clear PVC pipes, water cooler bottles, screw-top jars, puzzles, and even large blocks of ice.
Some of the more fun and rewarding forms of enrichment come from my daily tactile interactions with this special creature. Check Randolph out in action, below: