Saturday, 12 November 2011

A tale of two octopii

images CB
We had  four octopus in the tank last year. The first, survived several weeks untill a power cut one night killed most of the tanks inhabitants. Subsequently others survived no more than a couple of days

We have spent a lot of time and money on our aquarium in the Ocean Lab since then and thanks to the know-how of Miguel Sanchez (our erstwhile Faro volunteer now living and studying in Aberystwyth), it is set up pretty well . Sea water aquariums are pretty high maintenance and we have upgraded the filter and cooler system .Tony and Stevo Lucas have given a day most weeks helping me to refresh the water and keep it clean.

I was looking forwards to trying again as they (Octopuses)  tend to be found in the fishermens pots as winter sets in. I would not have persevered if it were not for the fact the first one had been fine until the power cut. I got them from local fishermen who would otherwise have killed them as they eat lobsters, so although it was sad that they died they would have been dead anyhow. Better to have a chance with us and to be there for people to see and wonder at them. They are amazing creatures and it blows peoples minds to find out they are actually swimming about no more than half a mile away from the Ocean Lab, in our waters.

I let my fishermen friends know we wanted another octopus if they caught any and within two days we had two! They are now both in the tank, a small one (body size about same as a tangerine), has excavated a burrow in amongst the rocks at one end of the tank and I thought it must have dissapeared until sharp eyed Angela from the Tourist Information Centre spotted it. The second one (body size about the size of an average orange), is less shy and is pretty visible. It also seems pretty voracious having allready killed and eaten a small goby and a bootlace eel! I have now managed to get it to eat tesco peeled prawns and am hoping they will satisfy its appetite.

These octopii are Curled Octopuses Eledone cirrhosa named after their habit of resting with their tentacles curled into ringlets, (see above) . They both seemed to have settled in and although they are related to snails, and other molluscs are considered to be highly intelligent.
I tend to let things go after a while and as these animals natural lifespan is pretty short we will probably let these go after Christmas and hopefully replace them on a regular basis, unless of course they start succesfully predicting the results of football matches!

Posted by walrus at 12:24 AM