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Blue-ringed Octopus facts: a Small Cephalopod with a Deadly Bite | Animal Fact Files

Today on Animal Fact Files

we're going to be looking at the blue-ringed octopus.

You've proooobably heard of it: super deadly, could probably kill you just by looking at you,

beautiful bright blue rings of death, the deadliest things ever!

While those statements are exaggerations, they're based in truth.

The blue-ringed octopus is more venomous than any terrestrial, or land dwelling, animals;

and they live in shallow waters of the Pacific ocean primarily as bottom dwellers.

They can be found along the coasts of Australia, Japan, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands,

the Philippines, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka.

Although that may sound like a broad area, because they only live in shallow, temperature waters

their habitat range is rather small.

They're non-aggressive - in opposition to their stigma -

and are usually find hiding in crevices, empty sea shells, and even thrown out bottles and cans.

If you were aware of their existence before stumbling into this episode,

you may be surprised to learn that they are actually extremely small.

A blue-ring octopus will only grow to a few inches in length, and that's including their legs!

Most of them are about the size of a golf ball, and that's once they reach adulthood!

Blue-ringed octopuses eat crustaceans and the occasional small fish.

They hunt by enveloping their prey disallowing them to escape and puncturing and small hole into their shells.

Then they just kind of... drool... everywhere...

Their saliva is toxic so it ends up paralyzing the prey.

Blue-ringed octopuses actually have to different sets of toxins: one used for feeding just as I described,

and another used for defense.

The toxin released for defense that's the scary one!

Well... I guess for those crustaceans they're probably both pretty scary...

The venom itself is actually made via a symbiotic relationship between the octopus

and bacteria in its mouth.

Adult blue ringed octopuses lack the ability to ink as a means of defense

so they only have their venom on which to rely.

Well, that and those crazy blue rings!

A blue-ringed octopus will only display its rings when treatened.

They use these as a sign to ward off potential predators as if saying,

"Hey, I could probably kill you..."

And they flash these rings in a third of a second.

So this fast.

Or this fast.

Like this!

The reason they can perform this action so fast is because when the rings aren't visible

they're actually simply being hidden under folds of the octopus's skin.

When an octopus wants to reveal its rings, it only has to uncover them.

Although it's not been determined how long young blue-ringed octopuses live before they mature

Once they have matured and are ready to mate, their fates have basically been sealed

as the mating process kills both parents involved.

Female blue ringed octopuses will remain with their eggs protecting them until they hatch.

This can last anywhere from a month to a few months depending on the species.

During this time, the female blue ringed octopus won't eat.

Shortly after her babies have hatched, she'll die.

This is actually common of most octopus species.

The life span of a blue ringed octopus is a short one -

which is what makes this next point aalllllll the more confusing.

Blue ringed octopuses are actually kept as pets!

Yes, even though they live extremely short lives, and yes, even though they are highly deadly

they are kept by some people as pets.

It's been theorized that this trait is actually hurting blue ringed octopus populations.

Although we don't currently have statistics on the populations of these animals,

due to habitat destruction and the pet trade, it's been guessed that their numbers are on the decline.

As pets, many blue ringed octopuses either don't survive shipping,

or perish after only a few weeks or a few days after arrival.

Plus, they really can kill you,

and there is no known antidote to their venom.

Just an FYI to an exotic enthusiasts out there.

On a lighter note, as deadly at they are and as hype as their stigma may be

there have only been three confirmed (human) deaths in the past century by blue ringed octopuses.

Still, three is three too many in my mind,

and it's always best to be cautious while in the habitat range of these tiny cephalopods.

For more information on the blue ringed octopus, feel free to browse through my citations in the description.

Thank you for watching and be sure to give a thumbs up for more Animal Fact Files!