Someone Filmed a Giant Octopus Hunting Inside a NorCal Tidepool

Spoiler alert: It didn’t end too well for the fish — but it’s another example of just how much awe-inspiring nature surrounds Northern California.

The Northern California coastline houses among the most biologically diverse tidepools anywhere along the pacific. There are thousands of species documented within these temporary pools, many of which offer spectacular hunting grounds for predatory marine life… like cephalopods.

The giant Pacific octopus— the largest known octopus species in the world, capable of reaching lengths of over 15 feet and weighing in excess of 110 pounds — calls the NorCal coastline home. Much like other species of octopus, they use their uncanny, surprising ability to move on dry land to pursue prey trapped in tidepools during low tide, going from one pool to the next until a food item is acquired.

One monkeyface prickleback recently found itself at the mercy of one of these massive cephalopods. And the entire spectacle was filmed by a passerby — a once-in-a-lifetime example of being at the right place at the right time.


“This was one of the most incredible wildlife encounters I’ve ever had — seen while tidepooling on the Northern California coast,” tweets UC Berkeley conservationist E. Anne Chambers. “(Also please enjoy the look of sheer terror on my friend. 😅)”

Notice, too, how the octopus uses its chromatophores — groups of pigment-containing cells capable of modifying an animal’s dermal color — to alter its color; cephalopods will utilize chromophores for camouflage, display states of disposition, communicate with other examples of their species, and likely more uses science has yet to understand.

In the posted video, an octopus uses its arsenal of 2,240 suction cups to grab onto the slimy eel, overpowering it as it flails. Eventually, the fish tires… allowing the cephalopod to pull it toward its mantle… and devour it by way of its parrot-like beak.

Did the fish come out ahead? Has Beyoncé released visuals for “Renaissance” yet? The answer to both these questions is “no.”

“By popular request, here’s another video after mine ended,” tweets Chambers to expand on the invertebrate cinematic universe she started by happenstance. ”The spoiler is that the fish doesn’t win 🫠 The octopus went back into hiding after this video ends.”

Given that a giant Pacific octopus can consume 2% to 4% of its body weight in food each day, it’s safe to say the filmed eight-legged creature has surely since left its lair to hunt again.

TBD if anyone else will film he/she/them devouring another unsuspecting fish.

Feature Image: Screenshot via Twitter, courtesy of [at]chamerea

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