#35: Octopus-in-a-Box - Guest Post

Today the Aquarium's 7-foot-long giant Pacific octopus completely entered a 15-inch-wide box! The octopus lives in its own exhibit on the third level and the boxes are used for feeding and enrichment. In this guest post, aquarist Bill Murphy answers some questions about the event.

What are the boxes made out of?
The boxes are made of acrylic and were created by one of our long time volunteers in the fishes department.

How many boxes are there?
There are 3 different size boxes with different locks that are puzzles for the octopus to open.

How do they work?
I place one or two live crabs inside the box and the octopus has to learn how to open the box to get the food. I start the octopus off with the small box and once he has mastered the lock I switch to another box and once he has mastered each individual box I put a box inside a box to keep him active and challenged.

What happened today?
The largest box was actually broken by another octopus here at the aquarium three years ago so today the octopus decided to go through that broken opening instead of unlocking the large outside box to get to smaller box inside with the live crabs. This is the first time it has been witnessed here at the aquarium because they don't always open the box immediately and will wait till the night when they are more active to hunt for food. It's been a very fun occasion for visitors and staff!



  1. This is AMAZING! I can't imagine what you thought when they said "the octopus is inside the box." It looks quite comfy!

  2. I bet that crab thought he was safe!

  3. Octopus proves that sometimes thinking INSIDE the box is more impressive!

  4. Truman also inspired a verse about the incident:

  5. Awesome. I remember the day the octopus decided she'd rather break the box than open it. Nice to see something amusing came of it. Hi, Bill!

  6. Bill-

    That's amazing! When I'm in I spend a lot of time talking about our octopus and explaining to visitors how we use the boxes for enrichment purposes. Recently was the first time in my 15 years as a volunteer that I saw one of our octopuses retrieve food from one of the boxes, but this move by Truman was just amazing. Nick

  7. u guys are totally crazy with ur box!!!


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