Showing posts tagged as "enrichment"
How do otters celebrate Easter? Our clever aquarists know eggsactly what they need: colored ice eggs with treats inside!
Shown are Gidget, Abby and Ivy.
Why We’re So “Attached” to the Giant Pacific Octopus
When we posted the photo you see here to our Facebook page, it received almost 3,000 responses—the most we’ve ever had! So we wondered: what’s the real story behind the image? For that, we asked Senior Aquarist Julia Mariottini, the joyful recipient of the “octopus hug.”
Giant Pacific octopuses are intelligent and often interact with our aquarists—but “this one was really outgoing,” says Julia. “I happen to be ticklish, and she would often touch my neck with one of her arms during a feeding session.”
The interaction was the result of an “enrichment,” which we offer many of our animals to keep them healthy and stimulated. “During feedings I would play with her,” says Julia. “I would make it more interesting by having her stretch out her arms for food, and we might have a little tug of war.” Occasionally, as you see here, this little exchange would result in a big hug.
This particular octopus was almost 60 pounds and 12 feet from tip to tip—big enough to give most of us pause. Nonetheless, says Julia, “I was never scared. I’d been working with this animal for a year when the photo was taken, and we had a relationship built on trust.”
Caring for the giant Pacific octopus is one of the most enjoyable husbandry jobs here at the Aquarium, according to the many aquarists who’ve had the privilege.
“I think all of the aquarists who take care of octopuses get a little emotionally attached to the animals,” says Julia. “It’s really fun.”
Signup for our text alerts when you visit, and you might catch an octopus feeding or training session! Learn more about daily activities at the Aquarium.
How do our sea otters celebrate the holidays? We brought a little of the North Pole to them! Learn more