Snails and slugs are distant relatives of the octopus

Enemies and Self-Defence

Dolphins, sharks, moray and conger eels will all feed on octopuses. But the octopus has a number of clever ways to defend itself from attack.

The octopus swims head-first, and in times of danger can expel water through the end of its mantle, propelling it like a jet through the water. It can squeeze its body through tiny gaps to shake off predators.

Magically, it is able to 'disappear' in order to escape detection. It does this by changing the colour of its skin to blend perfectly with its surroundings. By concentrating and diluting the coloured pigments in its skin, it can even produce stripes or strange patterns which seem to change its shape.

Finally, it can squirt ink into the water to hide itself, in the same way that it does when hunting for food. At the same time it releases a substance which numbs the attacker's sense of smell, so that the octopus can escape undetected. If at any time the octopus damages a tentacle during a fight, it is able to quickly grow a new one!

Read More: Octopus and Humans

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