Save The Pacific Northwest Octopus

Octopus paxarbolis

Octopus paxarbolis

I’ve found info on Octopus paxarbolis, a cephalopod whose plight has been totally ignored by the scientific community. I hope that you take action and help this magnificent animal survive our human hubris.

“The Pacific Northwest tree octopus (Octopus paxarbolis) can be found in the temperate rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula on the west coast of North America. Their habitat lies on the Eastern side of the Olympic mountain range, adjacent to Hood Canal. These solitary cephalopods reach an average size (measured from arm-tip to mantle-tip,) of 30-33 cm. Unlike most other cephalopods, tree octopuses are amphibious, spending only their early life and the period of their mating season in their ancestral aquatic environment. Because of the moistness of the rainforests and specialized skin adaptations, they are able to keep from becoming desiccated for prolonged periods of time, but given the chance they would prefer resting in pooled water.


Notice the athletic prowess of Octopus paxarbolis, brilliantly captured by an amateur photographer, who’s also a park ranger.

An intelligent and inquisitive being (it has the largest brain-to-body ratio for any mollusk), the tree octopus explores its arboreal world by both touch and sight. Adaptations its ancestors originally evolved in the three dimensional environment of the sea have been put to good use in the spatially complex maze of the coniferous Olympic rainforests. The challenges and richness of this environment (and the intimate way in which it interacts with it,) may account for the tree octopus’s advanced behavioral development. (Some evolutionary theorists suppose that “arboreal adaptation” is what laid the groundwork in primates for the evolution of the human mind.)

Reaching out with one of her eight arms, each covered in sensitive suckers, a tree octopus might grab a branch to pull herself along in a form of locomotion called tentaculation; or she might be preparing to strike at an insect or small vertebrate, such as a frog or rodent, or steal an egg from a bird’s nest; or she might even be examining some object that caught her fancy, instinctively desiring to manipulate it with her dexterous limbs (really deserving the title “sensory organs” more than mere “limbs”,) in order to better know it.

The natural predator of paxarbolis is the hawk.

The natural predator of paxarbolis is the hawk.

Tree octopuses have eyesight comparable to humans. Besides allowing them to see their prey and environment, it helps them in inter-octopus relations. Although they are not social animals like us, they display to one-another their emotions through their ability to change the color of their skin: red indicates anger, white fear, while they normally maintain a mottled brown tone to blend in with the background.

The reproductive cycle of the tree octopus is still linked to its roots in the waters of the Puget Sound from where it is thought to have originated. Every year, in Spring, tree octopuses leave their homes in the Olympic National Forest and migrate towards the shore and, eventually, their spawning grounds in Hood Canal. There, they congregate (the only real social time in their lives,) and find mates. After the male has deposited his sperm, he returns to the forests, leaving the female to find an aquatic lair in which to attach her strands of egg-clusters. The female will guard and care for her eggs until they hatch, refusing even to eat, and usually dying from her selflessness. The young will spend the first month or so floating through Hood Canal, Admiralty Inlet, and as far as North Puget Sound before eventually moving out of the water and beginning their adult lives.”

h/t The Republic of Cascadia

*Today is April 1st…


22 thoughts on “Save The Pacific Northwest Octopus

  1. As I began reading the post, I noticed that the octopus was not in water and it had a scaly skin, so I began to read on how the octopus instead of being a fish, it was an amphibian. it really caught my attention.

    Bellow I’ve put a link on yet another animal that can survive both land and water


    • Alfonso, carefully read the blog post.

      Is it really true that an octopus can survive in a temperate, deciduous forest? Should we believe everything we read on the web?

      And, most importantly: when in april was this post published?


  2. Something that caught my attention about the pacific northwest octopus was that it can change colors like a chameleon according to its emotions. Another thing that really amazed me, although not of the pacific northwest octopus, was the mate of the octopus, she sacrificed herself so that no harm would be done to her eggs. This octopus is a truly magnificent organism.


    • I kept reading the other blog posts and I was mistaken, the octopus does not exist. It would be interesting if it existed and those characteristics of my previous blog would of caught my attention. I’m sorry I did not do any research on this topic. It won’t happen again.


  3. I found interesting that the pacific northwest tree octopus spends it early life in water but as they mature they move to an arboreal environment and return to water on their mating season. I didn’t know that octopuses could survive much outside the water.


  4. I had found this information curious for I had never heard octopi could live outside water (at least for a long time). Now I’m not sure this information is actually accurate, if the video is even true. I searched this particular animal on Google and there were many sites that stated that this animal didn’t exist, that is was all a hoax created by Lyle Zapato in 1998. Here is the link to Zapato’s blog
    The information looks and sounds credible but literally every other Google site says a fraud like this site, “The Museum of Hoaxes”
    I’m not quite sure why would someone release fake information about a fake animal but it has been used to experiment on how children believe everything on the internet.


    • Almost no one could tell me that the forest octopus was a hoax. This happens on Facebook walls every single day: people take at face value soundbites about anything; one of the many reasons behind the proliferation of pseudoscience.


  5. I was extremely intrigued when I saw this post about the tree octopus so I decided to do a little more research…..What I found were numerous websites and blogs claiming that the Tree Octopus was just a hoax. After a little more research, I found that yes, the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus was in fact nothing more than a hoax created by Lyle Zapato in 1998. Even though I couldn’t find Zapato’s exact motivation for creating this fake animal and promoting it as a real one, I did find that this has been used as a social experiment to show how some people (mostly the youth) believe many things found on the internet and accept it without researching it further.


  6. I found the Octopus paxarbolis really interesting and decided to look for more information. I found out that this animal doesn’t even exist. It is just an Internet hoax made by Lyle Zapato to show us how gullible we can be when it comes to social media posts. We should not believe everything that we see on the web.
    Here you can find more information about the experiment:


  7. While I recognize that this article is indeed not true and the Pacific Northwest Octopus does not exist, I still find the whole idea of an octopus developing the necessary traits to live on land extremely interesting. Octopuses are not only known for their outstanding ability to adapt to their surroundings, but also for their remarkable intelligence. For years, scientist have been researching the depth of an octopus knowledge. However, as enthralling as a land octopus would be, I’m glad they don’t exist. The mere idea of an octopus running towards me at great speeds is paralyzing!


    • Cephalopods are amazing. They are very smart. And the nature of their intelligence can tell us a lot about the nature of human intelligence. A brain like the mammal brain is not the only way that animalcan be intelligent.


  8. When I first saw the picture of this Octopus it kind of shocked me, I’v never seen anything like that but then I read the post and realized that it is harmless to us, intrigued by the matter I looked up more info to make sure where it lived and how it came to be and realized that it doesn’t exist. I’m glad it doesn’t because it stills creeps me out.


  9. I find the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus to be a remarkable animal. When we think of octopuses, we immediately think of salt water. Well, this octopus has certainly gone against that presumption. Though, this octopus is involved with water; they spent their early lives in the water of the Puget Sound, but as they mature, they adopt an arboreal existence. They use their arms to swing from branch to branch, grabbing small prey as they go along.

    Some of the factors that contribute to the decline in the tree octopus’s population are from encroachments of the modern world: logging, roads, pollution, and overhunting by trappers eager to sell these beautiful creatures as ornamental decorations for hats. It is imperative to raise awareness on this animal and its plight. It is a truly important factor to the animal kingdom.

    Article on the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus:


    • Natalia, carefully read the post again; including its date. What have we said in class about Internet use? I suggest you Google the word “credulity”. Also, read the comment section of this post.

      Natalia, for being the first student to comment on this post, you’ll get a 5 point bonus on the final test.


      • Now that I have learned that this octopus doesn’t exist, I am disappointed with myself for being so bling. But, in reality, it is a really comic way to deliver a very important message.

        People, myself included, seem to believe virtually anything they read on the Internet. There is a very popular photo, where it seems that there is a quote by Abraham Lincoln, where he is talking about how you can’t believe everything you read online:

        Some people really don’t know or understand the real dangers of the Internet. Many women have been kidnapped and killed because they believed something someone said online. People, like myself, have racked their brain, researching something that doesn’t exist. I thank you for opening my eyes to this, and I hope I can remember this lesson in the future.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I found this octopus very interesting, so I decided to look for more information. I found that the Pacific Northwest Octopus doesn’t exist. This article is proof that there are many things in the internet that are fake, and we can’t believe everything that we read. This also made me realize that I can’t trust every source on the internet, and that whenever I am doing a project I have to check for a reliable source.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This article, be it about a real creature or not, still grants me the rare opportunity to talk about animals on this blog. Octopi (Or Octopuses, whatever floats your cuttlebone) are pretty radical guys when ya do the research. As a wise man once told me through a youtube video “The interestingness of an animal is determined by how hard it is to find it’s butt”, which makes the octopus quite interesting. Honestly, I didn’t expect to find it’s mouth where I thought to find its butt. Speaking of it’s mouth, it is a sharp, hard beak. This is the only hard part of an octopi’s body, meaning it can squeeze through any space larger that it’s beak.

    That’s all I’ll say about the Octopus here, mainly because I want to save information should I ever make a post about it. (That is, once I get my post series up and running, if I ever do.) But there’s a lot more to this weird little thing, and ya’ll should totally look into it more.


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