[Octopus]: Anya, O. briareus

Per @sedna on the TONMO FB page:
Here is a video of my daughter Elise playing with my eight legged daughter Anya. Anya is only just learning about contact with humans, and it may seem that she’s a little bit aggressive... In truth she is just exploring Elise’s arm, trying to decide if it’s food or not. Once her nibble got a little too tough, we stopped contact before on his beak could break Elise’s skin.

~Sedna

 
Photo binge!!!
 

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More gratuitous octopus photos... 🤣
 

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Anya is turning in to something of a beast! She really likes to play with human hands, but we have had to establish some firm rules- there needs to be two people and at least three hands for play time!!! She will try to envelop hands- which we do not allow with her! No one has gotten a bite that has pierced skin, and we like to keep it that way. You need three hands because as you put the first hand in she will try to grab the whole thing, so you add a second hand to keep her busy. When she enough suckers on two hands, then she tries to lift her self out of the tank entirely! 🤣. The third hand is for keeping her in the tank, and gently rolling her suckers off of the first two hands so that no one gets bitten. When play time is over, she will continue to sit at the waterline, even walking along the top glass of the tank searching for fingers to play with. She has caused us to double check all of our security measures for keeping her in!

I always stick feed, but that’s becoming hilarious now too! She would far prefer to play than eat. She has cleverly figured out how to pretend like she’s slowly going toward the food on the stick, then make a last-minute rush toward your hands. You pull your hands out quick slam the lid shut, she’ll take the food AND play with the stick- but she’s always checking the top to see if you’re not still there for play time!
 
I'm enjoying reading about Anya! I hope it's ok if I ask a few questions:
What food do you stick feed her?
How long did it take to get her accustomed to eating from the stick?
Have you tried any live food for enrichment purposes?
How do you tell the difference between escape behavior and "playing" behavior? Do you think the fact that she is trying to escape could be a sign of imperfect water chemistry or are you not worried?
How long has she been shedding suckers? Sometimes my octos do the same thing and i'm not sure if it's due to a specific stresser or just a general stress response.

Thank you again for the awesome journal!
 
I'm enjoying reading about Anya! I hope it's ok if I ask a few questions:
What food do you stick feed her?
How long did it take to get her accustomed to eating from the stick?
Have you tried any live food for enrichment purposes?
How do you tell the difference between escape behavior and "playing" behavior? Do you think the fact that she is trying to escape could be a sign of imperfect water chemistry or are you not worried?
How long has she been shedding suckers? Sometimes my octos do the same thing and i'm not sure if it's due to a specific stresser or just a general stress response.

Thank you again for the awesome journal!
Great questions, I don’t mind them at all! I feed her wild caught shrimp and salmon that I get from the grocery store counter. Honestly, she took food from the stick right away. In 11 years of keeping octopuses, I really haven’t ever had to train any of them to take food from the stick- they all warmed up to it right away. I do free feed life foods, blue leg hermit crabs and fiddler crabs when I can get a hold of them.

I’m not worried about water chemistry as we check it weekly and record everything- each of our 15 fish tanks has its own chemistry record. This tank has been set up for 20 years, and at this point is very stable. I would be more worried if I saw physical signs of stress from her, like heavy breathing, extreme white coloration, etc.

The reason I’m more likely to call it play behavior, is because I only see her do this when we have been in the room for a little while. I hate to anthropomorphize, but she seems like she knows when we are just chilling in the living room, and she decides she wants to play. If we don’t play with her, she stops walking along the top of the glass after a few minutes. It seems like her way of letting us know she wants some physical interaction. I never have walked into the room to see her walking along the top of the glass. That said, we have double checked any place she could get out to make sure that it is “octo safe.” There’s nothing wrong with hypervigilance in this case! 🤣

She seems to shed her suckers regularly, I might see one or two every day but a large shedding every few days. Again, this doesn’t worry me as my past briareuses have shown the same pattern of behavior. I think it’s just a general response of a full-grown octopus.
 
Thats interesting! Thank you for the response!
How often do you feed her?
Does she roam around the tank less if you increase the feeds?
 
I feed her every other day. When she roams the tank seems mostly based on time of day, and the amount of activity in the room. During her regular sleep times she will come out if there is something interesting going on. She actually comes out of her den if the dogs get rowdy!
Thats interesting! Thank you for the response!
How often do you feed her?
Does she roam around the tank less if you increase the feeds?
 
I take so many photos, but forget to take the time to upload them! Anja continues to do well. She is active in the afternoons and evenings and continues to love water changes and playtime.
 

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In order to clean the tank anymore, it takes two people. John usually does all the work, while I use a scrub brush for playing with/ distracting Anya. 🤣Otherwise, she tries to steal the siphon and generally interferes with our progress. Here are some pictures of our attempt to work in the tank earlier this week...
 

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