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The Cuddliest Octopus

by Laura Overdeck

Usually when we talk about octopuses, “cute” isn’t what we think first. But this eight-legged critter here really is cute. Until now, this type of octopus has been called the flapjack octopus, since it looks like a pancake: it has webbing between its legs, like a duck’s feet. It lives as far as 2,000 feet deep in the ocean, where the water is very cold. So the Monterey Bay Aquarium keeps their new flappy friend in a tank of super-cold water. They’ve been waiting more than a year for the octopus to lay eggs, and might have to wait 2-3 more years…cold-water sea creatures don’t lay eggs very often. When they do, you can bet their octopus babies are cute!

Wee ones: Who has more legs, you or an octopus? (All octopuses have 8 legs.)

Little kids: How many legs do you and an octopus have together?  Bonus: If it’s June right now and the octopus finally lays eggs 4 months from now, in what month will they show up?

Big kids: If you can scuba dive a whole mile deep (5,280 feet), and the cute octopus makes it only to 1,000 feet, how much deeper did you swim?  Bonus: Which would stretch farther on your kitchen counter, a row of 6 8-inch flapjacks, or 7 of these 7-inch flapjack octopuses?

Answers:
Wee ones: The octopus.

Little kids: 10 legs.  Bonus: In October.

Big kids: 4,280 feet.  Bonus: The 7 octopuses, since they’d reach 49 inches, while the pancakes would span only 48 inches.

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