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Love in the - water? - Sound News

Love in the - water?

By Sound News reporter Jeanne Fulcher

Octopus Week at the Seattle Aquarium is wrapping up this Saturday, February 21st. Featured are two Giant Pacific Octopuses, Pepper and Popeye, and the public watched and on Saturday February 14th – Valentine’s Day, of course – as they went on their first “date” with each other. The goal was to have Pepper and Popeye successfully breed, and afterwards the male was released (on camera so visitors could watch) so he could live out his days in Puget Sound.

 

The Seattle Aquarium has hosted this event for seven years so that students on mid-winter break can easily visit and join in on the activities, which range from daily hands-on projects to octopus feedings and talks. The octopus exhibit has always been a big draw; not many people are aware that the world’s largest octopus lives right here in the Puget Sound! It’s cool for the kids to “see something so alien and unique from the Puget Sound,” said Laura Austin of the Seattle Aquarium. Here’s a reason to visit the exhibit: the Giant Pacific Octopus can change colors (from a ghostly gray to a dark red-brown) and texture (bumpy to smooth). It’s not often you can see that!

 

A Giant Pacific Octopus average 16 feet from tip-to-tip and can weigh between 100 and 150 pounds. Photo by Jason Wettstein, Associated Press.

A Giant Pacific Octopus averages sixteen feet from tip-to-tip and can weigh over one hundred pounds. Photo by Jason Wettstein, Associated Press.

 

This Saturday at 11:30 am, a diver will be swimming with another octopus, Olive Oil, in the Window on Washington Waters exhibit. This exhibit is a replica of Neah Bay, and with a twenty-by-forty foot window, visitors can see everything. This is a unique experience because there isn’t usually an octopus in this exhibit, and it allows for a larger crowd to watch than if the octopus was in its regular exhibit. Olive Oil will be swimming her around with a diver who will be hooked up to a speaker, which allows them to interact with the visitors. “It’s cool because a lot of people can see,” Austin said.

 

Next week, Pepper will be released at her original home in the Sound so she can lay her eggs.

 

For more about the Seattle Aquarium, including information on Octopus Week, other exhibits, or hours, please visit their website at http://www.seattleaquarium.org/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=183.

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