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Eight Fascinating Facts about Octopuses ahead of Octopus Soup!

Posted on 8 October 2018

It’s well-known that octopuses are masters of disguise, as well as excellent escapologists, making them ideal partners for a master criminal… or so you might imagine!

In our forthcoming co-production Octopus Soup!, professional burglar Marvin unusually travels around with a pet octopus called Terry – leading them both into some hilariously outlandish situations!

Ahead of the opening of this brand new farce at the Belgrade 2-16 February, we’ve been doing a bit of research into the eight-armed invertebrates.
With 8th October marking World Octopus Day, here are eight fascinating facts you might not know about octopuses…

1) The correct plural of octopus is octopuses…

…but following the forms of its Greek etymology, it should be octopodes. People often think the plural should be octopi, but the “-i” plural derives from Latin. These days though, octopuses is the accepted form in English

2) They have blue blood…

…and we don’t mean that they’re posh! Octopus blood is blue because it’s copper-based, rather than iron-based like ours. This is because copper is more efficient at transporting oxygen in cold, low-oxygen environments.

3) They don’t have tentacles…

…despite what you might think, the correct term for their eight appendages is “arms”. Octopuses are part of a group of sea creatures called “cephalopods”, which also includes squid and cuttlefish. When referring to these creatures, “arms” generally describes something with suckers along its full length, whereas a tentacle usually only has suckers at the end.

4) They can detach their arms at will…

…and regrow them again! Similar to lizards and starfish, octopuses are able to regrow their limbs – which is extra handy since one of their defence tactics to escape predators is to distract them by voluntarily detaching an arm.

5) They have beaks…

…all the better for prising open hard shells! Octopus diets consist mainly of shellfish, meaning they need more than just squishy flesh and suckers to enjoy their dinner. If you ever encounter an octopus, you’ll find a parrot-like beak on the underside of their body, in the middle of their eight arms.

6) They really do have gardens!

Octopuses are very intelligent creatures, often playful, creative and inquisitive. Not only have they been observed using tools to catch their dinner and hide themselves away from danger, they also like to set up home in a favourite cave or crevice, often decorating the entrance with pretty rocks, shells and shiny objects, referred to as a garden.

7) They have three hearts

In addition to a large, central heart pumping blood around its body, an octopus also has two smaller hearts, located near its gills on either side. These extra hearts are specially designed to help enrich the blood with oxygen before it is transferred to the larger, main heart.

8) They live short lives.

Despite their complex minds, octopuses are surprisingly short-lived creatures, with some only living around six months. The longest-lived octopuses live for about five years, and all of them die after reproducing, with males dying shortly after mating and females dying as soon as their eggs hatch.

Octopus Soup! is co-produced by the Belgrade Theatre, and opens in Coventry 2-26 February 2019. Tickets are available to book now.