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Help with my octo's behavior (trying to eat me)


Pygmy Octopus
Sep 6, 2007
I am a teacher at a high school that is very small and only has about 45 students and we decided to raise an octopus for academic proposes. We have a 60gl tank with live rock, a skimmer, ect. And after feeding the octo two or three times it seems to want to eat my hand! The octo tries to pull my hand in even when there’s no food present. I started to hand feed due to the fact that every time we use the feeding stick it pulls the whole stick into its cave. I not sure what type of octopus it is but I’m know its not a bimac. We want the octo to be friendly and playful towards my hands (im the only one that goes in the tank and takes care of it) and when I feed it with the feeding stick I want it to just take the food and leave the stick alone. I tape most of this and show it to my students.

Cant anyone help please?
any advise?

Thank you!:wink:
Sounds like it has an aggressive personality. I doubt if there's anything you can do about it. I wouldn't use your hand anymore though. It might decide to not let you go and take a bite. The stick is safer for both of you.

I'm sure everyone here would like to hear more about your experiences. If a picture can be made available it would be helpful in the species identification of your octopus.
He is just examining your hand. It is okay for him to do this as long as he doesn't engulf your hand. If you suspect that he really is trying to take a bite out of you, pull your hand away. If you jerk it away you are probably going to scare him and he may become skittish whenever he sees your hand (after he decides you don't have food in it, of course). If you have pictures of it and know what ocean it came from we can probably help you with an ID.

Edit: Lol that's a lot of replies fast :smile:
Hi and welcome to TONMO.com :welcome:

Our members have kept other octopuses with this behavior and they sometimes settle down.

There is a trick to using the feeding stick. After you stick the shriimp or whatever on the end, slip a plastic drinking draw over the non-food end and slide it down until it rests on the food. Then,when the octopus grabs the feeding stick, it really is grabbing the straw and you can slip the feeding stick out. The octopus will be quite happy to have the straw.


At any rate, that is common in octopuses and nothing you can do unless you decide not to play with it.

Personally, I enjoy watching cephalopods' natural behaviors without the feed stick, and without "play time".

gjbarord;109087 said:

At any rate, that is common in octopuses and nothing you can do unless you decide not to play with it.

Personally, I enjoy watching cephalopods' natural behaviors without the feed stick, and without "play time".


Well, Anderson & Mather list Aggressive as one of their 3 classifications: http://www.earthsky.org/teachers/article/octopus-personality
(original article ref http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=4876299 )

I presume you're more skeptical than unaware of this...

I do believe that different individuals behave differently, but to call it personality differences is a little to anthopomorphic for me at this point. I wish that we could just call them behaviors, and not try to classify their behaviors as humanistic.

I will have to look up a good definition of personality and chime in again...

He sounds to me like he's very curious in figuring you out. I had one , named Ink and doing anything in the tank was a challenge. I never let him get a hold of my hand but he took numerous cleaning items, nets, claws away from me, would explore the item for about 10 minutes or so and then would tire of it so I could retrieve it. I think it's more curiosity than anything aggressive.

And :welcome:
Quick Note....

Lemon2 is not actually a teacher. In fact, he's a 15 year old high school sophmore that convinced his teacher, me, that it would be a great idea to buy an octopus for the school.

I just wanted to put that out there in order to deflect any misgivings you might be having about his spelling and composition ablitilty. I may agree with you that teaching standards have declined in this country, but they're not quite at Lemon2's level just yet......

Anyway, he's a good kid. Help him with his octo-problems.


Lemon2's Teacher.....
Animal Mother;109140 said:
Hope you don't have an allergic reaction or get a secondary infection from the seawater. There is a thread about octopus bites.

Although I agree with the "you probably want to avoid that" sentiment from AM, and I suspect that your school would prefer not to risk any trouble, from a practical standpoint, treating it as a dirty cut would be the best immediate action: rinse it under running water, preferably while it's still bleeding, and use something like alcohol or hydrogen peroxide on it. The more likely problem is infection from the tank water. If the octo just nibbles, it'll just be a cut, but if it injects venom, it can be something like a bee sting: if you're stung by a bee or bitten by an octopus, and show a large reaction (like a lot of swelling) or a "systemic" reaction all over your body (itching, redness, hives, trouble breathing, etc.) that can be an emergency, so get to a health professional as soon as possible (since the octo is at school, I'd guess the school nurse is the right person.)

For what it's worth, I don't think anyone on TONMO who has been bitten has ever had a systemic reaction, so it's not common... but it's important to be aware of, just like bee stings.

p.s. I didn't think your English was particularly awful, either... maybe 420reefer just thought it was a good opportunity to poke fun at a teacher 'cause he got too many red marks on an English paper once :wink: (of course, you did *say* you were a teacher in that post...)
Thanks Monty, but there is two people using this acount. Right now and the first post on the subject was me, but the third post (look at the post above) was my teacher. The other guy is probably right. I'm not the best at english, but I do have to say I was typing fast and didn't reread any of my posts. you can probably tell the difference between my teacher and I. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

P.S in the future I will say at the begining of my posts that I am the student. And yes I am the the commander of this octo operation at our school.

Heres some picture
his/her name is Cthulhu

sorry if there too big. I dont know how to change it.


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