Octopus is a sucker for ice lollies
2:36pm Monday 15th August 2011 in News
Fishy flavoured lollies are the order of the day for one giant octopus in Newquay.
Mr Tickle, who lives at the Blue Reef Aquarium in the town, has been given the snacks as part of an ongoing environmental enrichment programme.
The two-and-a-half metre long Pacific octopus particularly enjoys crab, sand eel and shrimp flavoured iced treats.
Blue Reef curator, Matt Slater, said: “Giant Pacific octopus are incredible creatures and we have been able to develop a really close relationship with this particular animal.
“He’s called Mr Tickle because he loves to be tickled with the frayed ends of a rope.
“However the ice lollies are definitely his favourite treat and he goes crazy for them. He doesn't seem to mind holding on to the freezing cold lolly at all.
“In fact he wouldn’t let go and climbed almost completely out of the water with his tentacles firmly wrapped around the lolly.”
The lollies serve a double purpose of keeping Mr Tickle cool on particularly hot days and encouraging him to work harder for his food and utilise his natural hunting instincts.
“We have an ongoing programme of environmental enrichment for him which includes puzzles, toys and a variety of other objects for him to explore and investigate,” said Matt.
Giant Pacific Octopus are the world’s largest species of octopus and are found from Japan to Southern California. The biggest recorded specimen had an arm span of 10 metres (33ft) and weighed 270kgs (600lbs).
As well as being the largest, the giant Pacific is also among the cleverest members of the cephalopod family. Individuals living in aquariums have been filmed sneaking out at night to raid nearby fish-filled displays.