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[Octopus]: Pablo - O. Hummelincki First time First Octo

KA&KA

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After two weeks and a few days having an octopus around almost seems like a normal thing. It's also starting to seem as if he likes us too. Most of the day he stays in hiding. But if we make eye contact with him he may come out if it is later in the afternoon. Usually by evening he is out roaming around on his own. Some evenings he dances all over the front of the aquarium until we feed him. Usually we feed him about half a shrimp and if much more then we may not see him at all the next day.

We've improved our flashless photography though still not great. Here are some more pictures of Pablo:

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DWhatley

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LOL, It does seem quite strange to find keeping an octopus normal. We notice an empty tank even after keeping one that is very nocturnal and/or reclusive. I am not sure what is so endearing about them but I suspect it has something to do with the way the eyes effect our empathy.
 

KA&KA

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I like the way their (Pablo's) eye bulge sort of extends when they seem interested in something going on outside the tank. Its very expressive.

I put three live clams in for Pablo this afternoon. He came out for a moment just to see what was going on. I guess it was a different sound with the clam shells clinking against the side of the tank. I left them in a mesh bag until certain they were still alive. Pablo did not bother with a closer look but went back to bed and we did not see him again. We fed him a whole shrimp yesterday and must not be at all hungry this evening. With siphons out the clams seem very happy for the time being.
 
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KA&KA

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Pablo was out mid day yesterday and ate all three clams. I noticed after he had opened the first and was just sitting there with the second clam in his arms. He must have been in process of consuming the first. After several minutes he repositioned the clam and began to strain. The clam opened a little and then much wider and then finally opened flat. Watching I thought of the trick where a strong man rips a phone book in half. And then, sitting on top Pablo did a funny dance which I am not sure is related to feeding. I might have caught a glimpse of him doing it before. He very rapidly twirled all eight arms at the same time in a way that gives one the jitters to watch. It could be a happy dance if there is such a thing but it is also consistent with what animals can do if they are irritated by something, trying to shed parasites, a layer of skin, or something.

Here you can see the tentacles in motion:
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I never saw him eat the third clam. He went back to his den before taking it but had evidently returned at some point to retrieve because the clam was gone when I looked in later. Three clams did not satisfy completely. he was out begging for more food that evening.
 

DWhatley

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LOL, I don't remember a multiple clam meal from any of mine but I do recall O. hummelincki to like clams the most of the species I have kept. It may be that their arms are stronger for forcing the mussel open.

The arm twirl is mentioned in numerous posts and there is no definitive explanation but is often called grooming behavior. Sometimes they will even put an arm inside their mantle and cleaning may be one of the functions. The do shed the lining of their suckers but you will see small white/clear disks with center holes floating about when this occurs. I do think they sometimes this is done when their skin feels "itchy" but that is only an impression (I also think some of the interaction I have had is akin to using my hand as a scratching post). I was able to catch it on video with SueNami (O. briareus) as a newly acclimated animal (note the brittle start in the upper left corner. SueNami starts the action when it touches his webbing).
 

KA&KA

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Thanks about the trilobite. It is a mortar cast of the original that has cured a long time, much of the time outside in the garden. There is a lot more populating my garden. It would be a dream come true for me to sit in the back yard on a giant trilobite so I am always glad to see Pablo on his.

We gave him three more clams Friday. The clams happened to be larger this time. Pablo responded quickly to the first and appeared to be concentrating on opening it. Something happened outside the tank that may have offended him. I think the reaction of one of us spectators when realizing their device had no memory to film. He suddenly decided to gather the other two clams and shuffled with all three back to his spot in the rear of the tank. It was disappointing to watch him leave it was something to laugh at too because it was obviously clumsy to maneuver all three clams. He seemed grumpy to be leaving and grumpy that his exit was more comical than dramatic.

However, I could see by the next day that he was not making the same progress getting through them. When I saw one was abandoned I pulled it out and put it in the front were it would be content to put its siphon out. I removed the second clam Sunday and could see that he had not even opened the first. By Sunday evening I decided to distract him with a piece of shrimp while I got enough of a grip on the one he was clutching it get it loose. He must have been hungry at that point. I put the clams in the sump for now. When he is out later I plan to open a clam before offering it to him.

Anyhow, what are the chances that he would have opened it eventually? I was fearing that he was simply going to long with out food and if I left the clams in he would just hoard them preventing them from filter feeding.

Back to the size of the clams, the first batch he opened easy enough. The second I am sure are stronger. They may be just about double in volume. But still he could just about hide one completely within his mantle.
 

DWhatley

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I think I would leave one in the tank with Pablo but offer alternate food (even if he eats it). Fortunately, clams that die (unlike other mussels, shrimp or crab) don't negatively impact a tank much so I have come to not worry about them.

We have seen two different acclimation feeding reactions. One is that they eat more than would be normal for them and then taper back as they adjust to aquarium life, the other is not eating at all for a few days. The only caveat is for female about to brood who will consume almost as much as you will offer before laying eggs and stop eating altogether. The first scenario seems to have the best outcome but each animal is different and I am never comfortable until they have survived two full weeks (IME, it takes about a month to fully acclimate to tank life) and Pablo has made that target the rest of your experience will have to do with his/her sex, age and personality :biggrin2:

Each animal is a little different (sometimes a lot different) so we can only speak in very general terms but recording what you experience is helpful for both others as well as yourself if you continue to keep octopuses.
 

KA&KA

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Wow a month already! it has been four weeks since he left his critter carrier and set up house keeping! time is flying by. Thanks for pointing that out.

The next big mile stone is going out of town next week for six days next week. A friend will be checking on him. She is a biologist too and loves Pablo so I feel like he will be in good hands. Maybe I can make her into a Ceph Head.
 
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