What would you do if a giant octopus approached you and went in for a hug? Scuba diver Andrea Humphreys stood her ground and accepted the affection on a recent dive. She has been out in the water near Campbell River, on the east coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, hundreds of times. But this outing is particularly memorable because a giant Pacific octopus wrapped itself around her and her diving partner. It’s the largest species in the world, with an arm span up to 30 feet across! The one Humphreys encountered played nice, investigating her camera as she squealed with delight (which you can hear in the video below). Humphreys even says she ended up with an octopus hickey from the suckers.
We saw this friendly octopus on Laughing Squid and are perfectly happy to experience the once-in-a-lifetime wildlife encounter secondhand. With another soundtrack, the same video could certainly be part of a horror movie. Humphreys also posted a second video as the octopus continued to engage with her and her dive partner over the course of their 40 minute sojourn under the surface. From her account, the octopus wasn’t acting aggressively and didn’t change colors or posture, which it might do if it was feeling threatened. Like other species, the giant Pacific octopus can also camouflage its color and texture if it wants to hide.
There are so many weird and wonderful species of octopus all over the world. If you can’t get out to the ocean to try for your very own sighting, check out a local aquarium instead and wave hello to the friendly cephalopod. There’s also plenty of other videos of wild octopus we’ve enjoyed recently, including gloomy octopuses in Australia throwing things at each other like grumpy siblings. There’s also an amazing deep sea species that balloons up like a circus tent to ward off predators.
Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. She also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth.