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Posted at 4:50 PM ET, 02/28/2010

National Zoo introduces giant octopus

By Washington Post Editors
cub
Zoo officials hope the octopus will play a role in teaching researchers and recruiting fans. (Smithsonian National Zoo)
It may not have the cuddly appeal of a giant panda, but the National Zoo is predicting its new giant Pacific octopus will be a major draw.


The octopus arrived at the zoo in late January. It's 2 1/2 years old and weighs just 3 pounds. The zoo says that over the next year it will grow to be more than 13 times its current size. It's believed to be a male, but the zoo says it may need more time to confirm that. The zoo plans to name the octopus next month.

Invertebrate curator Alan Peters says zoo officials hope the octopus will draw people into the world of invertebrates.

Giant Pacific octopuses are slightly bigger than a grain of rice when hatched, but can eventually weigh hundreds of pounds with an arm span of up to 25 feet.

Watch the zoo's live octopus cam.

--Associated Press

By Washington Post Editors  | February 28, 2010; 4:50 PM ET
 
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