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Avila Aquarium Has Giant Octopus

The Central Coast Aquarium in Avila Beach has a new, giant attraction thanks to a Morro Bay fisherman.
A female, giant Pacific octopus came to the Aquarium last October as bi-catch by a Morro bay commercial fisherman, and “Joan” as she’s been named to honor a long-time aquarium donor, will live at the Aquarium for about a year, and then she will be released back to where she was inadvertently caught.
A giant Pacific octopus grows bigger and lives longer than any other octopus species, according to the Aquarium, and can reach 16 feet and 110 pounds, living up to five years.
Joan is estimated to be less than a year old and “has already shown her charming personality to the staff, volunteers and visitors.” Her eight arms are covered in over 2,000 suction cups that taste and smell independently. This species of octopus lives alone in the chilly waters of the Pacific Ocean from the shallows down to 330 feet.
These “cephalopods” not only have a large brain, but have been able to unscrew jars, complete mazes, differentiate shapes, and perhaps most impressively, can change color and texture to camouflage themselves and match their environment.
“It is believed that they have the intelligence of a 4-year-old child,” according to the aquarium. “Since she will be returned back to her native habitat, Joan is being fed live prey to maintain normal hunting behaviors.
“But, in the meantime she will serve as an ambassador for her species and our ocean ecosystems just steps away from the aquarium.
They will hold giant Pacific octopus talks and feedings on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, with admission tickets at the top of the hour, and a shark talk and encounter at the bottom of every hour.
The Central Coast Aquarium is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and located at 50 San Juan St., Avila Beach off the Promenade.

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