The Giant Pacific Octopus and ‘Octopus Whisperers’

Pernas the Octopus

The Giant Pacific Octopus is the largest species of octopus with an arm span that can grow to an average of about 5 metres from tip to tip.

This species of octopus are usually reddish-brown in colour but they can change colour at will to express their mood, comfort level and intentions to nearby animals.

Introducing our team of Octopus Whisperers

The team of aquarists at S.E.A. Aquarium are led by Senior Curator Ramon Barbosa-Costas.

For the Giant Pacific Octopus, our curator and assistant curator are Jaime Camara and Marguerite Alden. They have been studying and caring for marine animals for nearly 30 collective years.

Under their supervision, our team of “Octopus Whisperers” provide care and enrichment for our female Giant Pacific Octopus.

The lead care providers for our Giant Pacific Octopus are

  • Arun Aloysius from India who has 4 years of experience and a degree in Aquaculture and Marine Biology.
  • Joshua Huang who is Singaporean with 11 years of experience and has been caring for aquatic animals since he was 18 years old.
  • Edmund Verghese who is also a Singaporean and has over 18 years of experience working with aquatic marine life.

Jim Hudson who has 34 years of experience in animal behaviour of aquatic and terrestrial animals also helps the team of Octopus Whisperers. He provides his knowledge and understanding of animal behaviour principles and training techniques.

Behavioural enrichment for the Giant Pacific Octopus

Under the guidance of Jaime, the team provides training interactions and behavioural enrichment to engage the Giant Pacific Octopus and enhance its well-being.

Behavioural enrichment, also called environmental enrichment, is an animal husbandry idea that enhances the quality of animal care by identifying and providing the environmental stimuli necessary for optimal psychological and physiological well-being.

A maze for the Giant Pacific Octopus to stimulate its hunting instincts
A maze for the Giant Pacific Octopus to stimulate its hunting instincts

For example, the team designed and constructed an acrylic “maze” for the Giant Pacific Octopus, inside which the octopus tries to retrieve food from.

By doing so the animal is challenged to:

  • Locate food by using its sensory abilities, thus stimulating the hunting instincts of the animal
  • Retrieve the food
Giant Pacific Octopus at S.E.A. Aquarium enters its maze
Giant Pacific Octopus at S.E.A. Aquarium enters its maze

Since the Octopus’s body is extremely malleable and fluid, it can fit into areas much smaller than what seems possible. The exercise in the maze stimulates the animal’s physical abilities.

Giving the Giant Pacific Octopus a massage
Giving the Giant Pacific Octopus a massage

After a long day, the team gives massages to the Giant Pacific Octopus for a job well done.

Come find our Giant Pacific Octopus in the Cold water exhibit area near the moon sea jelly.


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