[Octopus]: Mama Cass - O.briareus (tank hatched)

Neal and I agree that Cassy is special. Certainly part of it is her wonderful displays but also getting to see very dramatic personality changes as she grows. I looked back at her mother's thread to try to get a feel for when we have to make the mating choice and it seems that March is about right. I don't want to miss the opportunity but I don't want to end her life sooner by encouraging early brooding. If not mating her would make a major difference we wouldn't even think about it but knowing she will brood anyway, pushes us toward trying.

Tonight Cassy was a bit recluse (she ate readily and did come out for a quick look at us during our supper but she did not say out or want any attention). I was surprised she did not do this yesterday just because it seems that initial extended interaction always leads to a two or three day period of "thinking" about it followed by regular but shorter periods of continuing the interaction. Hopefully this is what we will see with Cassy. I did a tank cleaning and water change today as well so she may not be overjoyed at the disruption.
Tonight she came out to the front and acted like she wanted attention. Neal and I took turns going to the tank and letting her find our hands. After about the third touch and go (no pulling) she allowed me to pet her mantle and would swim back and forth along the front of the tank. At one point she ducked into the rock, I took out my hand, turned my back and left the tank. She immediately came back out to the front where my hand was in the water. I think we have established a go away signal of her going into (unlike the one I use with Monty) the live rock. She seemed to test this later and only went on top of the rock rather than into a cave and I kept my hand in the water. After waiting and watching, she came back to the front and swam to my hand several more times before casually going into the LR. With the others I have worked with, the acknowledgement of a "go away" signal was realized and tested repeatedly and very clear that the octopus knew how to send me away. I THINK Cassy has it but it is not apparent as others (this is the first briareus I have successfully interacted by touch with so I can only compare to the two other species where I have managed voluntary contact). If she calls us to play tomorrow, I will try to get Neal to video it :biggrin2: since my left handed videos make even me sea sick.

I am trying to get a "fix" on the huge strides forward with interaction and then the "think about it" period of avoiding human contact. I am not sure if I should count this as two or three days. Three days for returning to interaction but her keep away period only seems to have been two days.
I am only going to whisper this because the octos have a way of making a liar out of me but Cassy seems to have made major leaps this last week in deciding to socialize. She will still grab but it is not as aggressive and she does not run away when she lets go. Additionally she will slowly slide her arm tips through my fingers when I pet them to try to get her to release me. She actually came over to the "window" twice when she saw me this week and let me pet her. Today was the most handling she allowed and she positioned herself to receive a full mantle massage (not a simple petting but actually letting me cup her mantle in my hand and gently tickle. No video yet but I set up the tripod and remote firing trigger to try to get something on film :biggrin2: soon.


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I shot some video this afternoon but have not reviewed it. She came out while I was cleaning the other tanks (in itself a first) and suggested an invitation to play so I stuck my hand in the tank. She was so responsive that I grabbed the camera (already on the tipod and was able to film a number of rather long videos (my remote popped off the camera so I just let it run). This was around 4:00 in the afternoon and in full daylight. Looking at the thumbnails, the videos may be over exposed but I will post at least one of them soon.

Tonight (as well as on a couple of other occassions) both Cass and Tank were out in their respective red light lit sections. It is still unclear if they are looking at each other or if they are, if the know they are looking a another octopus. We don't see any suggestion of movement and acknowledgement but it is curious.

I just went down stairs and they were both out and actively moving, again under the red light. I still can't quite tell if they see each other and they freeze once they notice me so I am not sure what, if any, interaction is taking place (their tanks are roughly 15 feet apart, facing each other).

Amazing. Simply amazing. I hope one day mine does that. Even at night he's never that calm. One thing I have noticed since I started to play with him he does not like a single arm being grabbed.

Mama Cass is much bigger then my guy so I guess he still has some growing to do :smile:
Neal saw the video tonight (he helped take them but had not seen the videos) and made the same comment about how big she looked. I will try to take a ruler to he mantle tomorrow if she is out. Cassy is not huge (unless you look back at the red light video of the hatchlings 8 months ago) but she does seem to change the size of her mantle. When she is not interacting it seems smaller so she may be making herself look big as a defensive gesture.

Andrew, If you go back a month to her prior video, you can see a huge difference in how she reacts to a hand in her tank. Granted, she was looking for food but the calmness has only occurred this last week and I set the tipod up in hopes of capturining it (and that it would continue). She will still grab some but nothing like in the past and she does not run away when tugging does not bring the hand to her. Initially, mantles seem to be the more accepted place to touch (I think octopuses are less sensetive there) but we have worked with her to get her to release us by petting the grasping arms and this seems to help to both reduce/elminate the pulling as well as acceptance of touch. I believe it "feels" good to slide their arms through soft fingers since all of mine that have interacted have played some form of "squish". I do worry a little about removing any kind of protective oil and make sure my hand is very wet before touching them but I have not noted any skin problems from the interaction.

Tonight both Tank and Cassy were out and Cassy seems to be making herself large. We think they may be seeing each other but can't be sure. Both are dancing on the glass in the area of the red lights but we cannot detect direct communication. I am hoping Cassy's "big" look is not a sign of eggs but I know it is close to time. I want to wait another 2 months before trying to mate them in hopes of putting off the inevitable but I don't want to miss the appropriate window. This is the really hard part about keeping them. I know Cassy and Tank should be with me for another 4 months but Legs seemed to brood close to this time (eggs were not positively identified if I remember correctly). I am guestimating that I can wait until she is 10 months old but am nervous about missing the window or ending her human interaction early but letting them mate sooner.
Yeah, she is something special. As I mentioned we "permit" crossovers :wink: but most of us have our favorites and mine is the octopus. I have raised Cassy from a hatchling (her mother was also in my keeping and Cassy was hatched in our tank) so she is extra special to me and probably Neal's favorite of all we have kept.

Cassy came out to play more today and even fully (whole mantle rather than just arms) squished through my fingers a couple of times. She is still a little skiddish but is definitely coming to the front to participate and returns to my hand again and again. She cannot see my hand so the motion with my fingers (which I use for all of them) is especially important to let her know where my hand is (this species appears to be very far sighted and she can see me but not my hand). Tonight she ate her shrimp while sitting on the glass where she usually takes it to the back wall and I take that is an additional sign that she is more secure.