Giant Octopus Facts | Anatomy, Diet, Habitat, Behavior

The giant octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) is the world’s largest octopus species reaching the size of 71 kg (156 lb). It is also known as North Pacific Giant Octopus. They are mainly found in the North Pacific coasts off the United States. The giant octopus breeds at a depth of 2,000 m. It is thought to be one the most intelligent of all invertebrates.

Giant Octopus Facts  


  • The giant octopus has a reddish-brown mantle plus it has eight arms which are almost the size of a king cobra. Each of its arms measures 4.9 m in length.
  • Adult giant octopus weighs around 15 kg (33 lb) with an average arm span of 4.3 m (14 ft). According to the Guinness World Records the biggest octopus ever recorded at 136 kg with a 32-foot arm span.
  • It has the ability to taste by touch.
  • They are known to have the most complex brains of all invertebrates.
  • Giant octopus has a short-term memory.
  • They can reach the speed of up to 25 miles per hour but only in short bursts.
  • Octopuses do not have legs or perhaps they don’t need one for they can slowly crawl along the bottom on their 15-foot arms.
  • The giant octopus’ body is compressible so much so that it can get through any small opening. The color of their blood is blue and octopuses have three hearts. It can also change its skin color that blends with the surrounding.
  • Each of its four pairs of arms contains 280 suckers. There are thousands of chemicals in these suckers which help the octopus to taste.

Read More: Giant Pacific Octopus Facts for Kids

Giant North Pacific Octopus ©
Giant North Pacific Octopus ©


  • The North Pacific Giant octopus is known to breed off the coasts of California, Aleutian Islands, north to Alaska, and throughout Japan.
  • Females lay eggs in strings which are hanged inside a rocky den.


  • They are likely to make homes in habitats like rocky reefs, large boulders, dens, and in crevices.
  • It ranges to a depth of 5 – 1,500 m from shallow to deep water.

Feeding Ecology & Diet

  • The North Pacific Giant octopus primarily feeds on lobsters, shrimps, fish, abalone, scallops, snails, sharks, and clams.
  • In captivity, giant octopus is seen to prey on a 4-foot long spiny dogfish. They also eat small sharks in the natural habitat.

Reproductive Biology

  • The giant octopus is thought to be one of the longest lived species with the average lifespan of 3 – 5 years in the natural environment.
  • The female lays 120,000 to 400,000 eggs. Only females look after their eggs which are hatched in 6 months. The giant octopus has extremely tiny hatchlings almost the size of a grain of rice. A few of them grow to adulthood.


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