BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (KMSP) - The SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium at the Mall of America is putting its giant Pacific octopus on an “octo-diet.”
But first, they needed to weigh her.
Weighing an octopus is no easy task, but aquarium staff has trained the octopus to climb into a basket they lower into her exhibit. They are then able to pull her out of the exhibit with the basket and weigh her on a scale.
The process allows staff to weigh the octopus while causing her the least amount stress possible, Danny Paulus, a SEA LIFE aquarist, said.
“[It] allows us to kind of look at her health and wellbeing, see how well she’s eating and then be able to adjust her diet based on her body weight,” Paulus said.
The octopus currently weighs approximately eight pounds.
“The Giant Pacific is one of the largest species [of octopus]," Paulus said. "When they’re full grown they can grow up to 16 feet across. Our girl here isn’t quite that big."
Paulus says the diet will ensure the octopus gets the exact nutrition it needs to stay happy and healthy. Now that she has been trained to get into the basket on her own, staff will continue to weigh her one a month to see where she is at and if she is growing.
The aquarium has used the same type of weight-based diet for some of its sand tiger sharks with positive results, Paulus said.