For the most part, the majority of Octopuses feel very, very slimy, soft, tender and velvety. Slippery and sticky usually is the feeling too. The reason is, Octopus have a slime coat on there bodies to protect them from harmful bacteria's and infection that can occur underwater. Fish have scales to protect them, but Octopuses do not have scales, so they have a slime coat. And since they have absolutely no bone structure or bones at all, they feel incredibly soft and tender to feel. Never be afraid to touch an octopus, they don't bite you and don't use their "beak" as a weapon like squids and cuttelfish do as stated by Cousteu.
Just be careful to touch with wet hands. Our hands are too warm and can injure the octopus by damaging that vital slime coat letting in bacteria. Also make sure you have nothing like detergent, hand cream, sun screen etc on your hands as these can damage the octopus skin.
I would dispute the statement "they don't bite you"!! They can and do, sometimes! It depends on the situation and the species. I've been bitten three times by Octopus warringa This species is more inclined to nip than many, but any animal under stress may retaliate!
Ditto - see the later posts in this thread about our feisty octo at Kelly Tarlton's. I think it's more accurate to say that if you don't want them to bite you, it's fairly easy to prevent, but you should never assume that a wild or even domestic animal will categorically not bite you.
The giant pacific octopus at the NRCC used to come up to the surface of his tank when I fed him and would reach out for my hands.... He had a good grip!!! But i never let him hang on for long because he'd slowly work my hand towards his beak... it was a big beak and I wasn't that brave.
I understand that some species will bite, but for the majority...there beaks are never there main weapons in defense or when approaching someone like a human, lol. In many, many cephalopod books...Octopuses have always remained very gentle, and curious/shy animals. Marine Biologists have even stuck there finger towards its mouth, and still no bite. Squids and Cuttlefish have more of an advantage to bite because their beaks aren't hidden beneath a large ring of skin like the Octopus, and they aren't surrounded by it's tentacles, their beaks are more open and seen. I just don't want new Octo-learners or keepers to be afraid of touching one, cuz for the most part...they never ever bite you. And even if they do, there not poisonous...completely harmless. Their poison (nerve venom) only effects certain animals in the ocean or ect...to paralyze them. There poison is too weak to penetrate our skin so never worry. 100% fine to touch...as long as your hands are clean and not full of bacteria. I LOVE touching Octopuses, they feel sooo relaxing and great to touch. Very exotic and unique. I enjoy watching and feeling larger Octopuses than smaller onces cuz larger ones are more experienced as they have lived longer and its very interesting to interact with older Octopuses.