The Giant Pacific Octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) lives in the waters off North America’s northwestern Pacific coast. Though this Cephalopod may seem armed, it is harmless! Once considered a man-killer, the Giant Pacific Octopus actually prefers flight to fight. Shy yet highly intelligent, it hides during the day in its den and combs the seafloor for crabs and other shellfish at night. In the middle of all 8 of its powerful arms is their mouth which is shaped like a beak and made of a hard material called chitin (similar to keratin, what our nails are made of). They can squeeze their bodies into any opening smaller than their rigid beak.
These animals are solitary creatures, spending most of their life alone. Even after they find a mate, the male and female will part ways, allowing the female to find a suitable den to lay her eggs in. Giant Pacific Octopus live about 3-5 years, with males usually living longer than females.
To ward off predators, blend into its surroundings, or attract a mate, the Giant Pacific Octopus can change its color and texture almost instantly through the use of specialized skin cells called chromatophores.