On the floor of just about any ocean in the world, in the cracks and crevices of ocean rock is the common octopus habitat. Taking a look into the world of the octopus is a fascinating peek into an underwater ecosystem.
The octopus habitat will largely depend on the type of octopus. Most octopuses live in temperate ocean waters, with the exception of the Giant Pacific octopus which makes its home in the Northern Pacific Ocean. The majority of octopuses prefer the ocean floor for their home, although there are varieties that spend at least part of their lives at the surface layer of the open ocean. Areas in the ocean that possess the highest concentration of octopuses are coastal areas, reef areas and benthic, or ocean bottom areas.
Certain similarities exist for all types of octopus habitats. Octopuses are cephalopods, and have a totally boneless structure. As such, the creatures are extremely flexible; able to squeeze their bodies into the smallest nooks and crannies in order to avoid predator attack. They are nesting creatures, creating a home in such a crevice on or near the ocean floor or sometimes even digging a hole in the sand to develop a den. Their home provides a hiding place from their predators as well as a place in which the female can lay and incubate her eggs. An interesting fact about the octopus is that it will gather shells from crustaceans or rocks and build a fortress around the opening of its den in order to disguise it.
There are several types of marine life in the octopus habitat that serves as its food. Small crabs, fish, crustaceans, snails and even other octopus provide a nutritious diet for the creature. To eat, the octopus snares and secures its prey using the suckers on its arm. All of the arms gather the prey and pull it closer to the octopus mouth, where the beak is used to bite the prey. Paralyzing saliva is injected into the prey, which serves to soften the flesh; enabling it to be eaten by the octopus when torn into bite size pieces.
Sharks, moray eel and dolphins share the octopus habitat, but not amicably. These creatures are predators of the octopus. Often, the octopus manages to escape capture through its ability to take on the color, pattern and texture of any other surface; becoming invisible. Or, it will emit a black ink that dims sensory perception of its attacker long enough to allow the escape of the octopus.
The octopus is a fascinating creature; intelligent, interesting and curious, as well as being an intricate member of the ecosystem. The underwater world is a wonderfully balanced ecosystem, one in which the octopus habitat plays a valuable part.