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All The Reasons You Should Live In Fear Of An Octopus Apocalypse

Updated June 19, 2020 3.2k votes 743 voters 47k views11 items

List RulesVote up the scariest octopus facts that make you fear an aquatic apocalypse.

Sure, we've all heard a lot about the zombie apocalypse by now. People seem to love thinking about how they might fare in the event of exanimated beings coming back to life. Bookstores are full of zombie survival guides, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) even published guidelines for what to do in case of a zombie outbreak.

As it turns out, however, we may be preparing for the wrong scenario. Instead of spending so much time worrying about zombies, we should be more concerned with the potential of an octopus uprising. After all, as far as we know, zombies don't exist (yet), but octopus facts tell us the sea creatures are evolving every day. And they can be freaking scary - in fact, we have reasons to think that octopuses might be alien life-forms living in our oceans.

Zombies have remained the talk of the town for a while, but we should be keeping a wary eye on our seas instead of graveyards. The octopus apocalypse might be far scarier than any zombie revolution. 

  • Photo: Vladimir Wrange /

    Octopuses Know How To Find You

    Besides complex, problem-solving brains, octopuses possess a staggering array of sensory inputs. The suction cups on their limbs are covered in chemoreceptors, allowing them to not only feel but also taste whatever they touch. What's more, these receptors are connected directly to neurons, meaning they can react to sensory input and control the motions of their limbs without any direct information from their brain.

    The eyes of an octopus are also camera-like, much like a human's, though they likely developed through convergent evolution. Vertebrates and mollusks are thought to have diverged over a billion years ago, leaving humans "at least as closely related to shrimps, starfish, and earthworms as to octopuses," according to Discover magazine

    With such advanced sensory skills, it wouldn't be too tricky for an octopus to track their target - even if that mark were you. 

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  • Photo: Rich Carey /

    Octopuses Are Masters Of Disguise

    Octopuses are masterful mimics. Using special cells called chromatophores - along with their highly-developed eyes - octopuses can change the color of their skin to blend in with the background perfectly. What's more, some types of squid (also cephalopods) can also emit light from their bodies.

    Cephalopods don't merely use this mimicry to hide from predators, either. Some male cuttlefish have disguised themselves as females to slip by larger rivals to find themselves a mate, while certain kinds of octopuses mimic venomous sea creatures

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  • Photo: Naoto Shinkai /

    Sailors Feared Them And Called Them 'Devil Fish'

    Sailors and fishermen used to refer to octopuses as "devil fish." There are stories of giant octopuses taking sailors and dragging down entire ships, though these are generally afforded the same credence as ghost stories and tales of sea monsters.

    The largest-known octopus in the world, however, is the giant Pacific octopus - it is not something you'd want to see crawling into your house.

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  • Photo: Richard Whitcombe /

    Octopuses Use Tools

    Once considered the exclusive province of human intelligence, tool use has since been noted in numerous other animals, including birds, elephants, and chimpanzees, but seldom among creatures as seemingly simple as cephalopods. Octopuses, however, have apparently used jets of water to do everything from repel fish to clean their lairs, not to mention stacking rocks in front of hiding places to defend themselves from hungry fish.

    Perhaps most strikingly, an octopus was filmed in 2009 carrying around two halves of a coconut shell to hide in.

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