Octopus

Toss and Slap — How Dolphins Disarm a Dangerous Meal

octopus dolphin
octopus dolphin

Eating octopus can be dangerous. Some dolphins in Australia, though, have figured out how to do this safely. They shake or toss their prey over and over until it goes limp and becomes safe to swallow.

A group of hungry dolphins off the coast of Western Australia have figured out how to eat a dangerous meal. It’s octopus. And if eaten alive, it can stick in the throat. The dolphins, though, know how to immobilize their prey, a new study finds. They shake and toss it until the head falls off, the animal is in pieces and its arms are tender and no longer wiggling.

dolphin octopus
In this sequence, an adult male dolphin shakes an octopus and slams it into the surface of the water.

Most people who dine on octopus also prefer it immobile. We cut it into pieces and grill or otherwise cook it. Some people do eat live octopus. They may consider the wiggly, armed entree a treat. But this isn’t a meal to be eaten carelessly. Those sucker-covered arms can stick to the throat and suffocate the diner if the entree has not first been chopped into small pieces.

Dolphins risk the same fate. “Octopus is a dangerous meal,” notes Kate Sprogis. She’s an ecologist at Murdoch University in Australia….

How a dolphin eats an octopus without dying

dolphin flinging an octopus
Eating octopus can be dangerous. Some dolphins in Australia, though, have figured out how to do this safely — by shaking or tossing their prey over and over until it goes limp and the sucker-covered arms are relaxed and safe to eat.

Most people who eat octopus prefer it immobile, cut into pieces and nicely grilled or otherwise cooked. For some, though, the wiggly, sucker-covered arms of a live octopus are a treat — even though those arms can stick to the throat and suffocate the diner if they haven’t been chopped into small enough pieces.

Dolphins risk the same fate when eating octopus — and they can’t cook it or cut it up with a chef’s knife. “Octopus is a dangerous meal,” notes Kate Sprogis of Murdoch University in Australia. Even if a dolphin manages to remove an octopus’ head, it still has to deal with those sucker-covered tentacles. “The suckered arms would be difficult to handle considering dolphins don’t have hands to assist them,” Sprogis says.

A group of hungry dolphins off the coast of Western Australia have figured out a solution. They shake and toss their prey until the head falls off, the animal is in pieces and its arms are tender and not wiggling anymore, Sprogis…

How a dolphin eats an octopus without dying

dolphin flinging an octopus
Eating octopus can be dangerous. Some dolphins in Australia, though, have figured out how to do this safely — by shaking or tossing their prey over and over until it goes limp and the sucker-covered arms are relaxed and safe to eat.

Most people who eat octopus prefer it immobile, cut into pieces and nicely grilled or otherwise cooked. For some, though, the wiggly, sucker-covered arms of a live octopus are a treat — even though those arms can stick to the throat and suffocate the diner if they haven’t been chopped into small enough pieces.

Dolphins risk the same fate when eating octopus — and they can’t cook it or cut it up with a chef’s knife. “Octopus is a dangerous meal,” notes Kate Sprogis of Murdoch University in Australia. Even if a dolphin manages to remove an octopus’ head, it still has to deal with those sucker-covered tentacles. “The suckered arms would be difficult to handle considering dolphins don’t have hands to assist them,” Sprogis says.

A group of hungry dolphins off the coast of Western Australia have figured out a solution. They shake and toss their prey until the head falls off, the animal is in pieces and its arms are tender and not wiggling anymore, Sprogis…

Octopuses Are Big Weirdos

We all know octopuses and squid are weird. What you might not know is just how weird they are. In fact, these creatues actually use their RNA in a quite different way than practically any other animal on earth:

Stanford University geneticist Jin Billy Li heard about Joshua Rosenthal’s work on RNA editing in squid, his jaw dropped. That’s because the…