ENVIRONMENT

Aquarium Releases Giant Octopus Back Into Ocean, Wishes Her 'Good Luck'

The female cephalopod was caught in a crab trap and needed months of rehabilitation before she could go free.

A giant Pacific octopus with the bad luck to have gotten caught in a crab trap has a second shot at freedom.

The 22-pound female octopus has been released back into the ocean by staff at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport, which posted a video of the cephalopod’s triumphant return to the water earlier this week. The video ends with the caption, “Good luck!”

Staff pick the octopus out of a water-filled cooler to return her to the ocean.
Staff pick the octopus out of a water-filled cooler to return her to the ocean.

A crab fisherman had brought the octopus to the aquarium back in March after finding her in one of his traps, according to local news station KOIN 6. She was underweight and had open wounds, so the aquarium opted to keep and care for her until she was healthy enough to be released.

“We typically release octopuses offshore back into their natural habitat whenever possible,” aquarium octopus specialist Lance Hayes said in an aquarium news release. “This way there is minimal acclimation to their surroundings, helps eliminate the predation they would encounter in shallower waters, and gives them a better chance to meet a mate and have baby octos for us for the future.”

The news release explained that staff used sonar to find an “ample rocky habitat” underwater where it would be appropriate to release the octopus.

The crab trap in which the octopus was trapped was meant for Dungeness crab, which National Public Radio member station KLCC notes is a favorite food for octopuses.

It’s ideal if the aquarium can release the eight-armed animals before they get to mating age.

“That way, when they’re out in the wild, they can have a boyfriend or girlfriend, what have you, and have little babies for us,” Hayes told KLCC.

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