Of Octopi and Landsquid

You may have noticed that I have a small obsession with cephalopods.

This is actually a fairly recent addition to my favorite animals.  I think I can pretty much guarantee that no child will ever answer “Blue-Ringed Octopus” when asked what their favorite animal is.  Part of this I think is a matter of visibility – dogs, cats, birds, farm animals are all readily apparent in a child’s life.  (Also?  Dinosaurs.  My favorite dinosaurs all come from the plesiosaur family.  Except for raptors which come from Jurassic Park.)

(The blue-ringed octopus is venomous, by the way.  It does not make a good pet.)

I am an equal-opportunity cephalopod lover – I like squids, octopi (or octopodes, whichever you prefer.  I like the latter but I find that people don’t know what I’m talking about), nautiluses, and cuttlefish.  I remember going to the Seattle Aquarium with my grandmother when I was 14 or 15 and seeing the nautiluses and being like WHAT ARE THESE THINGS THEY ARE AMAZING THEY LOOK LIKE THEY BELONG IN THE DINOSAUR AGE (all things require capslock and run-on sentences when you are a teenager).

Cuttlefish are masters of camouflage.  Nautilus really do look like they belong in the fossil record.  Squid can be impossibly large (the newly discovered Colossal Squid can be almost 50 feet long) and are truly ruthless and efficient predators.  They deserve every fictional creature (kraken, anyone?) designed after them.

Octopi may be my favorite.  My sister (who wanted to be a marine biologist) told me that octopi can fit through anything their beak fits through. (She is a font of incredibly random information.)  Like, say, pipes.  Which is why they escape from aquariums and flood things.  They’re smart, they can take down sharks, slip through tiny openings, and even copy other animals.  Heck, they’re the only invertebrate group of animals to be observed using tools.

How can you not like an animal like that?

The landsquid are a little more complicated.  I saw them on a television show called The Future is Wild some years ago.  In fact, I only watched the program because I’d seen a commercial with the squid on it (which they call Mega Squid on the show) and said to myself “Laaaaandsquid.”  They also had treesquid but they didn’t catch my attention as much.

The best thing about the landsquid is, being completely fictional, you can make up whatever facts about them that you like.  Such as their great love for Cheez-Its.

Another thing I like about cephalopods is that they are unexpected.  Sure, llamas, moose, and alpacas all have excellent comedic timing, but no one ever expects the Spanish Inquisition Humboldt Squid.  Or folding plesiosaurs, for that matter, but that is a topic for another time.

Midway the Grumpy Octopus thanks you for your time.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Midway is certainly dressed for the Midway!


  2. …you must have been an awesome teenager.

    Or at least different.


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