Most octopuses stay along the ocean’s floor, although some species are pelagic, which means they live near the water’s surface. Other octopus species live in deep, dark waters, rising from below at dawn and dusk to search for food. Crabs, shrimps, and lobsters rank among their favorite foods, though some can attack larger prey, like sharks. Octopuses typically drop down on their prey from above and, using powerful suctions that line their arms, pull the animal into their mouth. The octopus performs its famous backward swim by blasting water through a muscular tube on the body called a siphon. Octopuses also crawl along the ocean’s floor, tucking their arms into small openings to search for food. Seals, whales, and large fish prey on octopuses.

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Check out where octopuses live.

If threatened, octopuses shoot an inky fluid that darkens the water, confusing the aggressor. The octopus can also change to gray, brown, pink, blue, or green to blend in with its surroundings. Octopuses may also change color as a way to communicate with other octopuses. Octopuses are solitary creatures that live alone in dens built from rocks, which the octopus moves into place using its powerful arms. Octopuses sometimes even fashion a rock “door” for their den that pulls closed when the octopus is safely inside.

Giant Pacific Octopus Giant Pacific octopuses can change color to blend in wherever they go! Learn more amazing facts about these amazing creatures in this video from National Geographic Kids.