Giant Pacific octopus. Photo credit: Kelly Brenner
Giant Pacific octopus
The award for most dedicated and tragic mother goes to the octopus. She spends a month laying over 50,000 eggs before shutting herself away with them in a rocky cave. For six months she never leaves her eggs, constantly blowing water over them to keep them aerated and gently caressing them with her tentacles to fend off harmful objects and defending against intruders. The octopus mom doesn't even feed herself. Half a year later, as the eggs finally hatch and the tiny babies drift away, she dies.
What Northwest human moms can learn: Appreciate life after the kids have left the cave.
Where to see them: There are many beaches in the Puget Sound area where octopus may be seen, including Alki Beach, Richmond Beach and Seahurst Park. Seattle Aquarium’s beach naturalists are present on many area beaches during the lowest tides of the year. But for a guaranteed viewing, visit the Seattle Aquarium to get nose to tentacle. For the more ambitious, try your hand at diving.
Watch: This video has amazing footage of an octopus eggs hatching.