Intertidal octopus

Intertidal octopus found in the tide pools at the Old Ram’s Sight Beach.

KODIAK — If you would like to explore the lively tide pools here on Kodiak, come join me, naturalist intern Nora Weisz, for a child friendly experience or a more in-depth look at tide pools at 10:30 a.m. Friday.

Since my arrival on the island, I have had multiple conversations about the intertidal octopuses of Kodiak; I was told that one could find these creatures while tidepooling. As I went out myself to explore the intertidal zone, I looked and looked, but to no avail. I began to think that perhaps these sea creatures were not as common as I had been told. 

However, these doubts were soon diffused when the next week during Guided Tidepooling a young boy standing among the rocks of the Old Ram’s Sight Beach cried, “Octopus!” 

There it was: a bright red specimen using its tentacles to feel and pull itself around the tide pool that it would be confined to until the tide came back in. We all watched in wonder as I congratulated the young boy on finding such a cool creature. Little did we know that it would not be the only find of the day! 

Later, as I helped another child search the tide pools, he too shrieked with joy: “Octopus!” There on the rocks laid another grayish specimen. 

 Considered the most intelligent of all invertebrates, octopuses are a fascinating animal. They are able to maintain both long-term and short-term memory which allows them to learn from experience. Additionally, they are counted with dolphins and chimpanzees as some of the only animals to utilize tools. Specifically, octopuses can be found using coconut shells as mobile homes, carrying them distances and using them as protective fortresses. They can often be difficult to see, because of their camouflaging abilities, allowing them to change color and blend in with their surroundings. 

If you would like to learn more about intertidal octopuses and other fascinating sea life, join me for a guided tidepooling experience next week. 

If weekdays do not work with your schedule, come to the Ft. Abercrombie Ranger Station for our guest lecture series at 7:00 pm on Saturday. This Saturday, we will be hosting Larry Van Daele, bear biologist, for a presentation on the Kodiak Bear.

The next lecture will be July 27, when Dave Oslen, with the Kodiak Military History Museum, will be leading a walking historical tour of Ft. Abercrombie.