Try, Try again!!!


Nov 24, 2002
Oy Vey:

Poor Tralfaz just keeps on trying to catch thos peppermint shrimp. I spent an hour today watching the little guy try and try again! I've attached a pic of him eyeballing two of them.

His problem seems to be that he always reaches one tenticle out towards them before he lunges. (see below pics) So they always have enough warning to get out of the way. Its very frustrating, I want to jump in the tank and show him how to do it. Arghhhhhhhh!!!! :x

Great Pictures! I love it when they do the telescopic look!!!!!

What kind of camera? Are you using your flash? I'm still learning!!!

He is too adorable! I guess, just as big-cat cubs have to learn to stalk their prey, Tralfaz has to learn the technique by trial and error -- except of course he doesn't have a mother to teach him.

When you said you wished you could show him how to hunt, you may have hit on something. Do you suppose that if you skewered a just-killed shrimp on a stick and moved it around near him (to simulate live motion), he would eventually "get it" and do it the right way? Or, perhaps, less lively prey like small clams would be good "training meals" for him?

He has real personality! (BTW, where does the name "Tralfaz" come from?)

Thanks all:

He is a cute little bugger :biggrin2: . Uhm, so many questions and pieces of advice.

Carol, I am using a Kodak DX3900 digital camera. Actually, I experimented a little bit and I find that it takes the best pictures using only the aquarium lights (with the room lights off). Otherwise, the flash tends to wash everything out. I am still working on getting real close up without it becoming blurry.

Sideways, YES All hail the cephs who will conquer (eventually) the evil shrimp bullies!!!

Tani, I actually tried waving a frozen (thawed of course) shrimp in front of him. He snagged it and then flung it right back in my face. I may try the same with a live shrimp to see how it works. I'll let you know.

Finally, Tralfaz and I just had a little "moment". He has seemed so frustrated that I decided to try to feed him a big turbo snail. I thought that maybe because their "trapdoor" is bigger he could get a grip on it to pry it open. (he seems to be having a hard time with smaller snails.) Anyway, I had the brillant idea to hold it out in front of his favorite burrow because when suspended the snails tend to kind of hang part way out of shell. I figured he might reach out and take it or I could drop it when I saw him looking.

Well, because I was standing over the tank, I didn't have the best view and he snuck up on me. He crawled over the back of my wrist to get to the snail. (Hmmm, sideways do you think I should have seen this coming considering Roxy's little grab-a-thon???) I yanked my hand away (thought maybe one of the killer shrimp had me) and he snagged the snail. He wasn't startled at all but I nearly had a coronary.
Next time I'll make sure I know where he is before I try this trick :P

Ah well, I'll keep you updated as to his hunting progress. :roll:

Oh yeah,

Tani, Tralfaz was the original name of the Jetson's dog Astro. Don't know why it stuck in my memory but when I saw him I just thought of it
George, I didn't know where to stick this but I just thought I'd let you know... I tried to feed my sea star a pealed raw shrimp tonight and the grass shrimp stole it from him and began to swim across the tank. Roxy shot out of the cave and yanked the shrimp from it and gobbled it up. I dropped in another piece later and she ate that right away too. So I guess I lucked up and got a very unpicky eater. Next, I plan to train her to eat tropical fish :lol:
Just a wee tip :smile:

i have used a piece of fishing line on many ocassions to dangle a bit of food right in front of an octos head to feed it. This works quite well with a new food. The bonus is that if the octo takes it and takes a bite then spits it out, you can easily pull it back out with the fishing line.

Fishing for octos is fun too, little bit tug of war!


Thanks Colin. I may give that a try. First, I am going to see if Tralfaz does any better on the small shrimp which I am getting from TONMO this week.

And YES, Tralfaz is still trying (but failing) to catch those pesky shrimp. I just caught him hunting in the dark. I took a pic of his amateurish attempts. :lol:

Well George, if you don't have any luck getting Tralfaz to eat the shrimp from Tonmo you can ship them to me along with $100 and I will dispose of them for you. If you don't want to deal with shipping the bags of water and Oxygen, just peal them and put them on ice b/f you send them to me. What's that? No need to thank me George, I'm glad to help.
Hey all:

John, The check is in the mail. :lol: I put hte shrimp That I got from TONMO in the tank last night. They are nice and small so, hopefully, Tralfaz will be able to catch some of them.

Before they came I fed Tralfaz some pieces of frozen shrimp. I waved it in his face on a feeding stick. He took it and, this time, he didn't spit it back out. :biggrin2: I guess he was really hungry.


PS. I may spear one of the live shrimp and feed it to Tralfaz if he doesn't catch one himself. That way he can see how tasty they are. Hmmm, maybe he is waiting for some cocktail sauce?????
lawfish said:
Hey all:

John, The check is in the mail. :lol: I put hte shrimp That I got from TONMO in the tank last night. They are nice and small so, hopefully, Tralfaz will be able to catch some of them.

Sorry George, I only accept money orders or paypal. :wink:
I put a few mussels in the tank for Roxy the other day. She's ate about one a day and she let Stumpy the Sea Star have one(she's a very thoughtful octo). She opened one last night and I guess it was bad or something. The tank became cloudy and putrid in a couple minutes. If it wasn't for the smell I would of thought she had inked. I've never seen a protein skimmer work so hard before. I was emptying out about an inch of sludge an hour from the collection cup until the tank cleared up a few hours later. It makes me reconsider if it's the best thing to leave for her when I'm out of town. I'd hate for it to happen again and me not be around to dump the skimmer cup.
lawfish said:
Tani, I actually tried waving a frozen (thawed of course) shrimp in front of him. He snagged it and then flung it right back in my face. I may try the same with a live shrimp to see how it works. I'll let you know.

Hi George --

This stunned me, because it is the second time I've heard of an Octo "telling off" a caretaker for giving him not-so-fresh shrimp!

In Linden's book THE OCTOPUS AND THE ORANGUTAN, which I reviewed a while ago on this site (you can still find it under "Book Reviews"), there is an anecdote about a curator at a marine research lab, who was methodically feeding the occupants of several tanks. She had a thawed shrimp which had been around for a day or two but (she thought) was still fresh enough to feed the Octo.

She dropped the shrimp in the Octo's tank first, and then went down the line of tanks feeding the other critters. After she finished, she walked back and happened to pass the Octo again. The Octo was pressed up against the front of the tank with his eyes fixed directly on her, clutching the uneaten shrimp in one of his arms. While still maintaining eye contact with the curator, the Octo edged backwards and emphatically stuffed the "offending" shrimp down the tank's drain!

There is no doubt in my mind that the little Octo, in his own way, was telling the well-meaning curator that she could take her rancid shrimp and "shove it"! And after reading your similar experience with Tralfaz, I'm even more convinced that there is an almost scary intelligence (and even emotion) housed in that soft, alien-looking package.

BTW, I'm enjoying your continuing account of Tralfaz's "adventures" very much, and I think you should seriously consider working it into a children's book -- all you would need is an illustrator, and a copy of this year's WRITER'S MARKET to find an appropriate publisher.

Something to think about....

Your benthic buddy,

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