Tentacle Troubles: Can Octopus Bite?

can octopus bite

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Octopuses are some of the most amazing marine creatures on planet earth. With eight tentacles that are laced with suction cups and a super-intelligent brain, they can seem unearthly at times.

Despite their alien-like appearance, the most surprising Octopuses are shy, and not a danger to humans.

In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at the Octopus’s offensive tools, and answer can Octopus bite?

Yes, Octopuses can and do bite. They have a parrot-like beak that they use to bite and inject venom into prey before consuming it.

Can Octopus Really Bite?

Although it’s incredibly rare for humans to be bitten by an Octopus, it certainly can happen. These animals have a beak that they use to consume food and paralyze prey.

Octopuses typically feed on small fish, clams, sea stars, and their favorite food, crabs. They rely on their beak to pierce prey and inject it with venom.

Similar to how teeth work, their beak is capable of piercing through a crab’s soft underbelly. Once pierced they inject venom which begins to liquefy the crab’s insides before they slurp it up.

How Do Octopus Bite?

When an Octopus is about to bite, it will typically use its tentacles to latch on to its prey, before positioning itself behind the target.

These sticky tentacles allow large Octopuses to man-handle their prey, and stop their prey from escaping

They use their camouflage to take prey by surprise and are intelligent enough to stay out of harm’s way when inflicting a bite.

For example, when Giant Pacific Octopuses bite crabs, they position themselves behind the crabs so that they stay out of the way of the crab’s claws.

This helps the Octopus avoid a nasty bite, and ensures that they have the upper hand and can bite without risk of being injured.

Why Do Octopus Bite People?

There is an incredibly slim chance of humans being bitten by an Octopus in the wild. These animals are not out to hurt us and are usually friendly toward humans.

However, if the Octopus feels threatened or provoked, it is more than capable of leaving you with a nasty bite that you will not forget in a hurry.

These animals deserve respect, as do all wild animals. If Octopuses feel intimidated then they may bite.

One example of an Octopus biting someone is an incident that occurred at a local fishing derby in Puget Sound when a woman placed a small Giant Pacific Octopus on her face for a photo.

As you can imagine, this didn’t end well for her. The Octopus bit the lady twice, which she described as feeling “like a barbed hook going into my skin”.

The wound bled for 30 minutes and after two days she was having difficulty swallowing and experienced severe swelling in her face.

Although generally safe, instances like this do happen as people often are not aware that Octopuses have sharp beaks and are venomous.

More and more people are deciding to keep Octopuses are pets, as many species are incredibly small and can live in tanks.

However, this can quickly become dangerous as if an inexperienced handler decides to pick the Octopus up, they may stress the animals out and receive a bite.

Many Octopuses are territorial, and if divers try to intrude on their habitat or place their hand in an Octopus den, they may bite.

Are Octopus Poisonous To Humans?

All species of Octopus contain venom, but only very few are fatally dangerous to humans.

The Blue-Ringed Octopus is one of the most deadly animals on the planet. They pack a venom that is 10,000 more deadly than cyanide, that’s enough to kill 26 adult humans.

One bite from this little cephalopod will kill a human in a matter of minutes. This species of Octopus is covered in blue rings, as the name suggests.

If they feel threatened they will pulse their rings brightly to give off a warning sign to humans and predators.

Check out this video of the Blue-Ringed Octopus:

This species of Octopus is one of the only types of Octopus that can kill humans, despite all Octopus species containing venom and being poisonous to humans.

Species this deadly are rare, and thankfully most Octopuses are not near as deadly as this one. A bite from the Giant Pacific Octopus will certainly hurt, but the venom is not fatal.

Final Thoughts

So, can Octopus bite? They certainly can, although it’s rare for them to bite humans.

Octopuses use their beak in order to bite and inject their prey with venom. This paralyzes the prey and makes it easier for them to consume.

An Octopus bite however can be deadly to humans too, depending on the species that inflict the injury.

Blue-Ringed Octopuses, despite their small size, are some of the most venomous and dangerous animals on the planet.

A bite from this little guy will kill a human in minutes. The good news is that a bite from an Octopus is incredibly rare.

More often than not these animals are friendly towards humans and have even been known to play with divers.

Hopefully, this post has been helpful and you’ve learned something new today about Octopuses and how they bite.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post and feel free to share it with others that may find it of value.