Can I get an octopus for a pet? (USA)

Is it legal? Are they expensive?

I understand that they are escape masters so I’m prepared to modify my tank accordingly.


Check your local pet laws, but there are very, very few restrictions on keeping fish–most of which pertain to local species, at least in my area.
What sort of tank system do you have? Light system? Other fish, softbodies, hard corals? Any rays or eels? How big is your tank? What shape? What sort of environment is it located in, in your house–i.e. high traffic area, or is it in a bedroom or den or other quiet room in the house?

You can get an octopus, but as you noted already, they are absolutely the masters of escape. They are also incredibly, remarkably intelligent, so I sort of find it hard to justify keeping them in a small, closed system with no mental stimulation. They are certainly not for the novice.


I guess I should have stressed–keeping an octopus is not for the novice. It requires a whole lot more time, money, equipment, and dedication than most people have, and even so, their lifespan seems to be extremely short, even for the experts.
We’re talking daily protein skims, weekly water changes, constant attention.

You’d probably want to set up an entirely separate system rather than just modifying the one you have, if there are already fish, softbodies or corals inhabiting that tank.


Here is some information on keeping an octopus. I can understand why you’d be interested. I made friends with a Giant Pacific octopus in an open tank at the aquarium in Newport, Oregon. I was amazed at how aware it seemed to be. First it grabbed my arm with one of it’s tentacles, then it seemed to focus on me with that big rolling marble of an eye. Very cool.

And that brings up the subject of Japanese Octopus porn.

No, I’m not kidding.

cite? :wink:

…dont bring your 'pus to a hockey game though…:smiley:

This is an art site, & it is a sculpture from the 19th century. As it is art, I hope the Mods will not object?

:eek: Oh. My.

Bring a whole new meaning to the 60’s song “Ocotpus’ Garden” , don’t it NinjaChick?

Not to mention “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”. :wink: :smiley:

I feel the need to emphasize now that our, er, encounter was entirely platonic.


Yeah, right. :dubious:

When’s the wedding? :smiley:

It’s a 110gallon tank. It’s empty right now (I’m a deployed soldier). When I go home, I want to set it up as a dedicated octopus tank.

Can they really open a jar? I’ve heard of people putting a shrimp in a jar and the octopus opening it up to get his dinner.

Yes, they can. I saw a very cool video of one doing just that, on TV, a long time ago. They have really amazing problem solving skills.

I share your fascination with octopi. I think they’re incredibly cool creatures. But, I wouldn’t trust myself to be able to keep one alive for it’s normal lifespan, short as that may be. They’re incredibly intelligent, but also really stupid. They will, according to people I’ve known who have kept them, do their very considerable utmost to get out of any tank they are put into. And, often, they’ll succeed. I’d hate that, if I was responsible for that.

Thanks for the cite/site, Bosda. Sometimes the something new I learn on any given day is actually interesting. Today was such a day. :wink:

      • I saw one for sale in a local pet store once. It was about 5-6 inches across the spread tentacles, they kept it in a hamster ball left inside a regular fish tank, when I asked why they said because it eats fish and they had regular fish in the rest of the tank. I don’t remember what species it was, but it only cost thirty dollars.

At which point I would have proceeded to cram my fist down the throat of the shop’s owner. Not to hijack the thread, but Jesus Christ, need I even get into the reasons of why that is disgustingly cruel?


Time for an art lesson, y’all. The most famous (and the first, I think) of the japanese artists to use the octopus and woman theme was Hokusai in the early 1800s. The painting of his that is the most notorious for this is entitled “Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife” (1820). Do a google image search (do a regular search using google, then click the “images” tab just below the google logo) for “Hokusai Octopus” (no quotes, though). I like it how the baby octopus kisses her while the big octopus is, umm, otherwise occupied.

Japanese erotic art is called “shunga”. Do a search on that if you want an eyeful; but remember, this is ART, not porn!


An octopus for a pet?

Your pet wants an octopus?

I own a Sperm Whale, so… yes.