Loss of Baby Octopus at Virginia Aquarium

In a sad update, the Virginia Aquarium shared that their baby octopus has passed away. On June 19 aquarium staff discovered that the octopus they had been raising, the healthiest from those that hatched, passed due to unknown causes.

Aquarium officials say that octopus babies are difficult to raise but they thought this little one had survived all the pitfalls. A Senior Aquarist at the Aquarium and one of the baby octopus’ care takers wrote an account about raising the animal.

Her writing titled “Cephalopod Parenting 101” is her first hand account for figuring out how to take care of a baby octopus. She says that in December the aquarium’s female Caribbean Reef Octopus began to lay eggs.  The aquarist said that she knew this was going to be a difficult task, but whenever she was asked about raising the babies she responded, “I don’t know… but I’m going to figure it out!”

The aquarium says when the time came, the Octopus laid her eggs in her favorite cave and was giving her babies attention around the clock. The mother octopus was dubbed, “the best mother I’d ever seen,” by the aquarist.

Video: Watch Virginia Aquarium Octopus Hatch

The caretakers then began to get ready for the arrival of these babies and built an octopus apartment for them after they hatched. The aquarist made sure that anything a baby octopus could dream of was in that tank, shells, rocks, and even making sure it was escape proof for the commonly sneaky species. The aquarium said that in order for the octopus babies to grow they need to constantly eat! So the babies were fed, fed, fed and fed a diet of baby shrimp through a little turkey baster – around the clock.

Weekly milestones were checked off leading all the way up to eight weeks. Even with all of the care and attention given by aquarium staff it seems that the difficulty and lack of information on raising these babies seemed to have won. The aquarium has highlighted their sadness in losing the little octopus but say they take success in what they learned from caring for the animals.

You can read the full blog the Senior Aquarist at the Virginia Aquarium here!

Video of the baby octopus playing with his toys: