Gentle readers, I present to you that the octopus is a perfect specimen of real-world, non-fiction monster. Allow me to offer a few facts that back up this assertion:
- The octopus is the smartest invertebrate. In other words, if you follow the evolutionary tree from its roots up until it branches into those with backbones (i.e., vertebrates) and those without (i.e., invertebrates), humans are at the very top of the former, and octopuses are at the very top of the latter. They prove that astonishing intelligence is not a one-off event, because it evolved independently at least twice. The octopus is the underwater analog to us humans. #toosmarttobetrusted
- An octopus seems to be all stretchy dermis, which is terrifying enough as is, but did you know that an octopus has a hard BEAK? At the opening of its mouth, which is located at the center point of the arms, is a functional, sharp opening that helps the octopus eat. And last year a woman reported an octopus bit her face.
- Even a 600 lb. octopus can slither through a one-inch space. The creature is basically an empty bag of skin that can shape-shift and squeeze itself into and around things in unexpected ways. *shudder*
- The multiple appendages? Those aren’t tentacles. They’re extensions of the octopus’s highly complex brain. Upon surgical experiments, octopus arms have been proven to actually contain more brain tissue than their “heads.”
- Did you know that an octopus can regrow a brand-new arm if one is torn off? This process can be seen firsthand in the moving and beautiful documentary My Octopus Teacher (highly recommend). They can also change their shape and color to mimic coral, rocks, and seaweed, thanks to special cells that “mirror” their surrounds.
- They are venomous, and the ink they expel is so toxic that an octopus can kill itself if it gets caught in its own ink cloud.
- Their pupils are creepy horizontal lines, like those found on goats, and on Satan himself.
- Oh, and that bag is actually not their head. It’s more like a huge nonsexual scrotum that holds the rest of their organs that aren’t brain. Octopuses can swim with this sack in front of them or trailing behind, making it hard to tell if one is coming or going.
- Finally, let’s talk about size. The largest octopus is the Giant Pacific Octopus, which can be 30 feet long and weigh 600 pounds. And that’s just the hugest KNOWN species. The probability that one larger than a Giant Pacific exists is very high. Throughout history, people who made their livelihood sailing the seas have reported octopuses big enough to wrestle down entire ships full of humans and cargo.
In conclusion, I nominate the octopus–that marvelous, eerie, oceanic alien–as the perfect mascot for October. All hail!